BHAWANIPATNA: Uncertainty looms over kharif paddy procurement in Kalahandi district with custom millers yet to sign agreement and deposit security. In the last rabi season, purchase of paddy was delayed by a month as millers expressed reluctance to sign agreement over their demands like enhancement of transportation charges, storage commission and gunny bag depreciation charges.
The district administration had planned to start kharif paddy procurement on November 1 to check distress sale. As many as 72 rice millers were selected to participate in the procurement process. However, the millers are yet to sign the agreement for their participation.The Civil Supplies department had issued letters to the rice millers to sign the agreement and deposit security a fortnight back. However, there has been no response from the millers so far.
The Agriculture department has assessed paddy production in the district at 81 lakh quintal in the current kharif season on the basis of which marketable paddy surplus will be procured. As many as 72,843 farmers in the district have registered their names online within the deadline of September 22.
In the first phase, the State Government has fixed the procurement target at 26 lakh quintal paddy. The target will be enhanced in the subsequent phases. Paddy will be procured through 74 Primary Agriculture Cooperative societies (PACS) and 17 women SHGs at 178 mandis.
Local farmers expressed concern over the delay by custom millers. “The hold-up will lead to distress sale by small and marginal farmers,” they said.