Bhubaneswar, Mar 12: The Odisha government has so far purchased 60.40 lakh metric tonne paddy from the farmers during the current kharif season, which is 19 percent higher than in the corresponding period of the previous year, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain told the state assembly today.
Making a statement in the House on the direction of the Chair, Minister Swain said that last year 50.87 lakh metric tonne paddy had been purchased from the farmers over the same period. However, the government this year has bought 60.40 lakh metric tonne of paddy from the farmers so far, which is 19 percent more compared to last year. Similarly, last year the government had purchased paddy from 9.17 lakh farmers while this year the number has increased to 11.25 lakh.
The direction from the Chair came after the house witnessed opposition uproar over the paddy procurement issue for which no proceedings could be taken up the entire day today due to frequent adjournments. The opposition BJP and Congress MLAs stormed the Well of the House shouting slogans against the government for its failure, forcing the speaker to adjourn the proceedings of the Assembly for several times and finally for the day.
Earlier, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh, on February 26 had informed the House in absence of the Food and Civil Supplies Minister that 57.67 lakh metric tonne of paddy from 10.53 lakh registered farmers as on that date. That means the procurement agencies have purchased another 2.73 lakh metric tonne of paddy by today, said Swain.
Listing out steps initiated by the department to step up paddy procurement from the farmers, the Minister said that stringent measures had been taken against ghost farmers and the intermediaries. Instructions have been issued to district civil supplies officer, deputy/assistant registrars of cooperative societies to identify real farmers and purchase paddy from them. Besides, the departmental field officers have been asked on March 2 to review cases in which the tokens issued by the department have lost the validity.