Despite late monsoon and floods, Bargarh tops paddy procurement
BHUBANESWAR: Even as the paddy crop was hit by late arrival of monsoon and floods, the State Government has procured over nine lakh tonnes of paddy in 2011-12 marketing season as against five lakh tonnes during the corresponding period last year. Maximum paddy procurement has been recorded from Bargarh district, considered the rice bowl of the State. Two Government agencies __ Orissa State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC) and Orissa Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (MARKFED) __ have procured 3.88 lakh tonnes of paddy from the district by December 31. Paddy procurement from Sambalpur, Kalahandi and Subarnapur, the three other major paddy-producing districts in western Odisha, is also satisfactory, said a senior officer of the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department. According latest figures available from the Department, Government agencies have procured over 1.73 lakh tonnes from Sambalpur, 80,147 tonnes from Kalahandi and 72,200 tonnes from Subarnapur districts.
While the Government has engaged five agencies for paddy procurement, the Civil Supplies Corporation has been given the bulk of the target. The corporation, which is procuring paddy through primary agriculture cooperative societies (PACS), has procured over 8.43 lakh tonnes and MARKFED 55,506 tonnes. The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has procured 1,983 tonnes against a target of 50,000 tonnes. The Tribal Development Cooperative Corporation (TDCC) is yet to open its account in the 10 districts where it is allowed to operate. The State Government has set a target to procure 28 lakh tonnes of rice during the current kharif marketing season. In the first phase, the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department has given a target of 20 lakh tonnes keeping another eight lakh tonnes for the rabi season.
Dismissing Opposition allegation of mismanagement in paddy procurement, a senior officer of the Department said not a single report of distress sale or payment of less than the minimum support price, announced by the Centre, has been received so far. The sources further said the rice miller agents have extended support to the farmers by transporting their paddy to the nearest market yards. Meanwhile, the Department has introduced mobile governance to get up-to-date data on paddy procurement through SMS.