BARGARH: Hundreds of farmers on Monday gheraoed the offices of the Collector and civil supplies officer (CSO) protesting delay in procurement of Rabi paddy.
More than 200 farmers from Resam, Salepali and Padhanpali dumped bags of paddy as a mark of protest during the agitation which started at 10.30 am.
They said though procurement of Rabi paddy was started on May 8 in the district, several farmers could not harvest their crop on time due to unavailability of workers.
However, their tokens for procurement were already generated. When the farmers took the paddy to the market yard for sale, they were told their stock cannot be procured as the tokens had lapsed.
The farmers had approached the Collector on numerous occasions this month over the matter. Recently, on June 25, the Collector after being apprised of their problem had assured that paddy would be procured from the market yards and purchasing centres by June 28.
However, it was not done and irked over this, the farmers staged the agitation.
Narendra Bhoi of Resam said the Kharif season has already started but the farmers are still left with thousands of unsold bags of paddy.
“We had genuine reasons for delay in bringing the paddy to the market yard. The harvesting was badly affected due to the lockdown,” he said.
Sources said around 45,000 bags of paddy (30,000 quintal) are yet to be procured from Resam market yard, Salepali purchasing centre, Areigudi market yard and Padhanpali purchasing centre in the district.
Additional CSO, Durga Charan Basera reached the spot of agitation at around 4 pm and held discussions with the farmers.
Basera told the farmers that 221 tokens have been generated and their paddy will be procured soon without any hassles.