Farmers threaten blockadge of roads to sambalpur

Resentment is brewing among farmers of the district as procurement agencies have not lifted their stock of paddy though the State Government had directed the district administration to start procurement from November 22.

According to sources, there has been a stalemate over paddy procurement as the Primary Agricultural Cooperative Society (PACS), designated as procurement agency, along with Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited is insisting on Fare Average Quality (FAQ) paddy to pay minimum support price (MSP) while the farmers are demanding that their paddy should be accepted as FAQ and they are paid MSP.

It has left the district administration in a fix as it is yet to get Central Government’s nod for Under Relax Specification (URS) of the FAQ. On Monday, farmers under the jurisdiction of Sersuantal Market Yard of Regulated Market Committee (RMC) brought about 5,000 bags of paddy in 19 vehicles to Collectorate.

Road blockade using paddy bagsAs their stock was not procured at the market yard, they resolved to dump it at the collectorate and the office of Food and Civil Supplies as a mark of protest. However, police stopped the vehicles at Jail Chowk ahead of the collectorate.

A delegation of the farmers went to meet the Collector to discuss the matter. In the absence of the Collector, the Sub-Collector wanted to meet them but the farmers refused. Later, they went to Baraipali Market Yard of the RMC in Sambalpur town and dumped the paddy there.

In an emergency meeting held at the market yard, the farmers resolved that if the paddy lying in various market yards of RMC is not procured on Tuesday, they will block all National and State Highways passing through the district by dumping paddy bags on the road on Wednesday afternoon at 12:35 pm

Advisor of Sambalpur Zilla Krushak Surakhya Sangathan Ashok Pradhan said though procurement has begun since November 22, paddy is not lifted by the procurement agencies with the millers calling the shots. District Food and Civil Supplies Officer Bijay Rath said the problem has erupted over FAQ.

Although they have set a target to procure 14 lakh quintals of paddy, only 20,000 quintals have been procured till date, he added. In reply to a query on payment to the farmers, he said so far only 87 farmers have been paid their dues.

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