BHUBANESWAR: Despite the BJP onslaught over paddy procurement lapses, the State government on Saturday made it clear that the purchase process is over and there is no scope for keeping the mandis open as the last date of sale fixed by the Centre was June 30.
The announcement came at a time when BJP MLAs had requested Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to seek the permission of the Central government for extension of procurement date till July 15 as many farmers could not sell their produce due to lapse of token and other mismanagement in the procurement system.
“No more paddy will be procured as the time scheduled by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) for rabi procurement got over on June 30. Around 90.75 per cent of the registered farmers of the State have sold their produce against 82.69 per cent in the 2020 rabi season,” Cooperation Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain told media persons.
He said paddy has been procured from 2.03 lakh out of 2.24 lakh registered farmers involving a cost of Rs 2,697.62 crore. The government had set a target to procure 71 lakh tonnes of paddy in 2020-21 Kharif marketing season (KMS). But the procurement exceeded by over 6.37 lakh tonne. The paddy purchase under MSP in 2019-20 KMS was 70.56 lakh tonne, he added.
Reacting to the State-wide agitation by BJP over alleged mandi mismanagement and government-rice miller nexus, the Minister said it is one of the political agendas of the Opposition party to stay relevant. “Rabi paddy procurement was limited to only 17 districts. We fail to understand why the BJP took its agitation to 30 districts. Maybe it is their frustration over the popularity of the Naveen Patnaik government,” Swain remarked.
The Minister said the rabi paddy procurement is not done in the neighbouring Chhattisgarh. This (BJP agitation) may be a move to push paddy from other states into the procurement system of Odisha, he added.