BERHAMPUR: Uncertainty looms large over kharif paddy procurement in Ganjam district as the rice millers have expressed their unwillingness to participate in it seeking fulfilment of their nine-point charter of demands.
Though the district administration has decided to begin paddy procurement from December 10, as many as 375 millers are yet to sign agreement and deposit security money for the purpose.
This apart, the District Civil Supply Office is yet to issue Society Authority Slip (SAS) to paddy procurement centres authorising it to buy paddy with the prescribed target. Similarly, an authorised rice mill is given Miller Authority Slip (MAS) prescribing the quantity of paddy it would purchase from the respective centres. The MAS is yet to be issued to the rice millers by the administration, sources said.
Meanwhile, Ganjam District Millers’ Association has submitted a memorandum to the district paddy procurement committee seeking fulfilment of their demands, including payment of pending dues of the last three years, supply of gunny bags by the State Civil Supply Corporation to stock paddy in the mandis after procurement, facilities to transport procured paddy from mandis to milling points among others. They have threatened not to participate in the procurement process if their demands are not fulfilled.
Sources said the district administration has set a target to procure 25.94 lakh quintal of paddy through 390 Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS), one Pani Panchayat and 55 women self-help groups (SHGs) this year. Of 390 PACS, five, including Gochha, Goudagotha, Merikote, Saranauti and Balarampur societies under Aska circle have no internet facilities and paddy would be procured off line. As many as 1,34,496 farmers have registered their names for the purpose.
Earlier, the administration had decided to open mandis from November 15 but due to delay in harvesting of paddy, it was postponed to December 10. The kharif paddy procurement in the district will conclude on March 31, 2020.
District Civil Supply Officer Bishnu Prasad Supakar said, “We have apprised the Collector about the demands of the millers’ association. We hope the millers would come forward for the procurement of paddy. Steps are being taken to streamline the process.”