Posts filed under ‘Paddy’

Drought cloud over Nuakhai in western Odisha

Following is a report TNIE:

Drought scare looms over the celebration of mass agrarian festival Nuakhai slated to be observed on August 26. With drought stalking districts of Nuapada, Balangir, Kalahandi and rain-fed areas of Bargarh, the peasants and marginal farmers have been robbed of their purchasing power.

On the other hand, the situation has come in handy for labour sardars who are on the prowl offering advance to lure gullible landless and poor peasants to migrate to alien lands promising greener pasture.
With no money in hand and aware of the impending drought, the landless and poor have been caught between poverty and tradition. While the helpless peasants need money to celebrate Nuakhai, they also have to sustain their families.

Caught in this dilemma, they land in the trap of labour sardars who offer them advance money for Nuakhai celebration and traffic them mostly to brick kilns where they are forced to work in inhuman condition.

With rains failing farmers in the districts of Nuapada, Balangir, parts of Kalahandi besides Padampur sub-division in Bargarh, it is said that the sardars will have a flourishing trade this year. With successive crop loss and debt burden haunting the farmers, the labour sardars are looking forward to traffic more people trapped in poverty and debt.

While Nuapada Labour Officer Mukta Lal Naik could not be reached, the lone clerk in his office said no labour contractor has applied for licence as yet in the district.
Similarly, Assistant Labour Commissioner, Balangir Saroj Ranjit said fresh registration of labour contractors has not yet begun. Registration will start after Nuakhai, Ranjit added.


August 27, 2017 at 5:56 am Leave a comment

Odisha approves a parboiled rice mill and co-generation biomass power plant at Kalahandi

Following report is from:

Odisha’s State Level Single Window Clearance Authority (SLSWCA) accorded in-principle approval to two investment proposals worth Rs 470 crore. The SLSWCA meeting chaired by Chief Secretary A P Padhi approved a proposal of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) to set up a common user facility (CUF) for storage of petroleum products at Meramunduli in Dhenkanal district at an investment of Rs 270 crore, said Kalyan Mohanty, General Manager of Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Odisha (IPICOL).

It also approved a proposal of Starlight Energy Limited to set up an integrated grain based distillery unit along with a parboiled rice mill and co-generation biomass power plant at Goud Sariguda in Kalahandi district with a total investment of Rs 137 crore. The CUF project is a common arrangement of IOC L, BPCL and HPCL and will cater to receipt and storage of petroleum products like petrol, diesel, kerosene, fuel oil, light diesel and high performance petrol, he said.

Mohanty added that the project will require 90 acres of land, 3 KL/day water and 450 KW of power and provide direct and contractual employment to around 344 people. Starlight Energy’s project requires 195 acres and 1 MW power as stand by for start-up of the biomass power plant. It will use broken rice from rice mills, besides maize and other grains produced in Odisha for the distillery unit, while husk from the rice mills will be used as principal raw material for production of biomass power. It will produce neutral alcohol for medicine, ethanol for blending in petrol and anhydrous alcohol for industrial use and provide direct and contractual employment to 108 people, Mohanty added.

January 30, 2016 at 5:12 am Leave a comment

Central team to visit drought hit Nuapada, Kalahandi, Balangir and Bargarh districts

Following is a report by PTI

Bhubaneswar, Dec 1 (PTI) A 10-member Central team led by Union Joint Secretary, Agriculture, K Srinivas is scheduled to undertake a visit to Odisha’s drought affected areas from Thursday, officials said today.

The team, which will reach the state capital tomorrow, will visit the drought hit areas in separate groups on December 3 and 4, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra said.

The team will have a meeting with state officials here on December 5,

Mahapatra said the Centre has constituted an inter- ministerial team led by Srinivas after the state government submitted an interim memorandum on drought.

The team will fly to the affected districts of Nuapada, Kalahandi, Balangir and Bargarh in two groups in a helicopter. After visiting the four districts, the team might take a decision to visit other drought affected districts, the SRC said.

The team will leave for New Delhi on December 6.

December 1, 2015 at 7:38 pm Leave a comment

Nuankhai celebrated in Western Odisha

Following is a report from the TNIE:

SAMBALPUR: Nuakhai, the agrarian festival of Western Odisha, was celebrated with gaiety and religious fervour across Western Odisha on Saturday.

With rain lashing the district, people chose to remain indoors and spent time with their families in performing the rituals and enjoying the festivity. The Nabanna (newly harvested rice) was offered to Goddess Samaleswari, the presiding deity of Sambalpur, at the stipulated lagna (auspicious moment) between 10.58 am and 11.13 am. During this period, families also offered the Navanna to their respective Istadevata (presiding deity) and Goddess Laxmi (Goddess of Wealth) as a mark of gratitude for a bumper harvest, good rain and a favourable weather.

While it was Goddess Samaleswari in Sambalpur, it was Patneswari in Balangir, Sureshwari in Sonepur, Sekharbasini in Sundargarh and Manikeswari in Kalahandi whowere worshipped. Being an agrarian festival, the eldest in each household in rural pockets worshipped their paddy fields and cattle. Womenfolk woke up early in the morning to perform Nuakhai rituals that began withdecoratingthe house with ‘jhoti’. While children in colourful attire enjoyed their holiday to the fullest, devotees across the region thronged Samaleswari temple. Later in the evening, ‘Nuakhia Bhetghat’ were organised by different socio-cultural organisations.

September 5, 2014 at 10:46 am Leave a comment

The new Kalahandi: a summary of its progress and rice production

Following report is from

Standing in his paddy field that glistened in the afternoon sun, farmer Gouranga Rana had his worries: What would happen to his bumper harvest? Would he be able to sell it at the minimum support price announced by the state government? But the FCI godown was already full.

These are concerns any farmer would have. What makes Rana’s problem—and that of others in Bandigaon village in Jaypatna block—a happy one is that his village is part of Kalahandi, once a name that stood for hunger in one of the country’s most deprived regions. Now, as the Union Agriculture Ministry announced last month, Kalahandi ranks among the top 25 rice-producing districts of India.

Till the early 2000s, starvation deaths and distress migration were the norm here, with reports of families in distress selling off their children. One of the cases that made headlines was in 1985, when a 14-year-old tribal girl, Bonita, was sold by her sister-in-law, Phanas Punji, for Rs 40 so that she could feed her two starving children. Shocked, then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi visited the district and announced a development package called the KBK (Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput) Development Scheme for the district. Like all government packages, this scheme was forgotten as funds dried up.

The change came in the form of the Upper Indravati Multipurpose Project, first conceived of in 1987-88. Since 2000, water from the project has reached six of the 13 blocks of Kalahandi, leaving in its wake green fields that this district could once only dream of. Of Kalahandi’s cultivated area of 1.9 lakh hectares, the project irrigates over 76,400 hectares. There are plans to extend the project to cover an additional 6,000 hectares in Golamunda block.

Kalahandi farmers now have two crop seasons every year. “It’s an unbelievable change. Nothing short of a miracle,” says Orissa’s Director of Agriculture and Food Production R Sant Gopalan who, till a few years ago, was the district magistrate of Kalahandi. “It shows what government irrigation and improved farm input can do to the fortunes of a region despised for its backwardness.”

“Water was all that Kalahandi needed and once it came, there was no looking back,” says Ashok Patnaik of local NGO Karrtabya.


Rana would know. Till about 12 years ago, Rana’s father used to get a meagre harvest of 23 quintals of paddy during monsoons on their six-acre land. “It was tough for us to survive then,” says Rana. Last year, he harvested around 60 quintals from his land during the rabi season alone despite pest attacks. “Now I have a pucca house. I can afford good education for my children,” says Rana, who has studied till class XII.

Like several thousand farmers in Kalahandi, he now grapples with a problem of plenty. The three-year average of Kalahandi’s rice production ending 2010-11 was 4,68,000 tonnes, compared with the three-year average of 82,000 tonnes for 1998-99. The year 2012-13 saw a new high, with rice production in the kharif season touching 4.89 lakh tonnes, with rabi expected to yield another 1.85 lakh tonnes, making it a total of 6.74 lakh tonnes, a record for Kalahandi so far. The per hectare yield in Kalahandi in 2012-13 has crossed 40 quintals, compared to the modest state average of 34.88 quintals.

With lush paddy fields on either side, a drive along the leafy stretch of National Highway No. 201 as it passes through Junagarh block is a pleasure, even in the searing summer. The picture isn’t any different in the blocks of Jaypatna, Koksara and Dharmagarh.

Chaitanya Nayak of Bandigaon village harvested 140 quintals of paddy on his seven acres in the last rabi season, double his produce in the previous kharif season. Ten years ago, he would have probably migrated out in search of a job. Nayak, a matriculate, says, “Earlier, we would often go hungry during the rabi season. Now most of the houses have refrigerators, coolers, dish antenna and motorcycles. In the last 10 years, I don’t remember seeing a dry paddy field in my area,” says Nayak, who rides a Hero Passion motorcycle and does aquaculture in a small pond besides his house. With water available in plenty, all the 300-odd families in Bandigaon have taken to farming in a big way.

Kalahandi’s transformation into the state’s rice-bowl has led to reverse migration, with rich farmers from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh now putting their money in the district’s fertile tracts. G Sreenu from East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh owns 20 acres in Dulukibandh village of Kalampur block and last year, reaped 1,100 quintals of paddy. He now has a three-bedroom house on the main road.

There are other visible signs of change. Last year, the first government engineering college came up in Kalahandi, one of only a dozen in the state.

District collector Govind Sethi says he has no doubt that the change is for real. “Though we will have to wait for the latest Census results to validate the change, the signs are all there. More children go to school, the district has seen more progress in education. The focus has shifted from hunger to better things,” he says.

Farm mechanisation has also taken off in a big way. Kalahandi has more power tillers (2,500) than any other Orissa district. With labourers in short supply, farmers are now renting expensive combined harvesters for Rs 2,300 an hour to harvest paddy.

As Kalahandi’s new fame has spread out, traders from Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are bringing in hundreds of automated paddy threshers to the district. From a handful of rice processing mills 10 years ago, now there are 82 active rice mills in Kalahandi. With so much paddy being produced, FCI, which had one paddy procurement centre in 1996, now has 50 centres in the district.


Kalahandi’s Congress MP Bhakta Charan Das, who is credited with getting water from Indravati to the district’s fields, says the success in farm production, coupled with more government spending in the roads and health sectors, have helped Kalahandi turn the corner. It also helped that the state government pitched in with crop loans and supplied quality seeds.

“The kind of poverty we had 15 years ago now seems a distant memory. Almost all the villages have good roads under government schemes. Most people have two-wheelers and every other house would have a dish antenna. Starvation is a thing of the past,” says Das. Besides, there are 10-12 branches of nationalised and private banks in the blocks. Prosperous blocks like Junagarh and Jaypatna now boast of half-a-dozen automobile showrooms.

Kalahandi’s long wait for a railway link with the state capital got over last year with a 30-km track between Lanjigarh and the main headquarter town of Bhawanipatna. Das now hopes the Bhawanipatna-Junagarh link would be through soon, giving farmers in the Junagarh sub-division a chance to take their produce by trains and get a better deal.

Rana, the farmer in Jaypatna block, says people in Kalahandi now have the blessing of “two Indras”. “There is Lord Indra during monsoons and then the Indravati project in the winter and summer seasons. We are indeed blessed.”

Jayalal Padhi, deputy director of agriculture of Junagarh sub-division, the area which has benefited the most from the project, recounts how his friends used to tease him as “Kalahandia” (man from Kalahandi) during his college days in neighbouring Bolangir district. “We used to be embarrassed then. Now if someone calls us Kalahandia, it’s a matter of pride,” he says.

 The Indravati project

Though initially estimated at Rs 208 crore in 1987-88, the project which dams the Indravati river and its tributaries to form a massive reservoir atop the mountains in Thuamul-Rampur block of Kalahandi, has now escalated to more than Rs 3,000 crore.

From the reservoir, water is transferred to Hati river in the Mahanadi river basin which then irrigates six of the 13 blocks of Kalahandi through a maze of canals and sub-canals running to hundreds of kilometres. The construction of the 52 km-long main left canal from the project’s barrage at Mangalpur ended in December last year while the main right canal with a length of 84 km is expected to end by March 2015.

 Green, but how green?

The water gushing into Kalahandi’s fields has brought with it problems of a different kind. While earlier, farmers used to grow pulses and millets such as ragi during the rabi season, most of them now grow only paddy throughout the year. “Kalahandi can have 35-40 types of crops a year. But the lack of crop diversification has led to a decline in soil quality and texture. So farmers have to use more fertilisers to retain productivity levels,” says Ashok Patnaik of local NGO Karrtabya.

Though more water has led to more productivity, it has also made the crops vulnerable to pest attacks and diseases. “For small farmers like us, it is difficult to survive by spending so much on paddy. Every year we have to deal with some kind of diseases,” says marginal farmer Uddhaba Sahu of Mangalpur village.

With labourers preferring to work under NREGA, farmhands are in short supply. Farmers like Sahu say they can’t afford the steep cost of automated farm equipment. Rising paddy production has also meant that farmers are forced to sell their produce below the minimum support price of Rs 1,250 for every quintal of paddy.

Without a planned drainage system, some areas face waterlogging. For the last several years, Indravati project officials had no schedule for water discharge and they continued to release water even when farmers did not need it. But this has been resolved to an extent since last year, with water flowing through canals and sub-canals. With fields hardly left to dry due to the continous irrigation, the area stinks during the monsoon as people defecate in the open.

Rising mechanisation has also led to a sharp drop in livestock population. With depleting livestock, farmers are dumping the straw into the irrigation canals, choking them.

The Land Ceiling Act has not stopped rich farmers from Andhra Pradesh from coming to Kalahandi and buying up lands of small and marginal farmers whom the irrigation project was meant to benefit. With farm input costs going up, many fear that small-time farmers would end up selling their land to the land sharks.

Officials say Kalahandi can be among India’s top-10 rice producing districts and yet not lose its soil quality if farmers are open to newer methods of cultivation. “One modern system of rice-growing is the System of Rice Intensification. Under SRI, farmers sow a small number of seeds and then transplant them into fields one by one, while controlling the water input. Through SRI, the productivity can go up by 30-40 per cent,” says Orissa’s Director of Agriculture and Food Production R Sant Gopalan.

June 10, 2013 at 2:07 pm Leave a comment

Despite late monsoon and floods, Bargarh tops paddy procurement

Following report is from

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.

January 3, 2012 at 8:38 am Leave a comment

People of western Orissa celebrate Nuankhai

September 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm Leave a comment

Misconception about “Nuankhai”

-People are using Nuankhai and Nuakhai alternatively. So which one is correct? Nuankhai (in western Orissa we call Nuan whereas in coastal Odisha they call it Nua). Mind your chandrabindu!

-The reporters are reporting it as a harvest festival. Is it the paddy harvest time? Now, the farmers are just finishing their agricultural work. Harvest season is far away. During Nuankhai we search kilometers to get a dhankheda. Even people do not get it. Sometime people use few grains with milk as a “bhoga”. So it is never a harvested grain. It is an agricultural festival to welcome the first “grain”. As always the first “grain” is given to the presiding deity. So while you are reporting please take care.

Wish you a happy Nuankhai!



September 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm 3 comments

Balangir Haat to come up in Bhubaneswar

Following report is from The Pioneer:

The first ever visit of State Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy to Balangir began with interaction with farmers and a promise to open a Balangir Haat (market) at Bhubaneswar to prevent the distress sale of vegetables, tomato, and mango within a month, besides directing the official to visit the field and attending the grievance of farmers.

Accompanied by Principal Secretary RL Jamuda, Director Agriculture RS Gopalan and Director of Horticulture and Watershed, Maharathi listened to the farmers’ complaints. The majority of complains of farmers were related to distress sale of paddy, tomato, vegetables, hike in subsidy for digging well, shortage of paddy seed and revival of cold storage.

“No new paddy seed is arriving here. Farmers have to wait for hours to get a bag of paddy in Puintala block. With a bag of paddy what will he do?,” asked ex- MLA Muralidhar Guru to the delegation.

Besides the official sale centre, the sale centre opened under the Chief Minister’s package is yet to function. Those who have opened sale centres are yet to get their commission of last year, alleged a few farmers.

Reacting to complaints of distress sale of tomato, onion and other vegetables, Maharathi announced that a Balangir Haat would be opened at Unit –1 in Bhubneshwar within a month where farmers would sell their produce directly and get benefit. He also assured that adequate amount of seed would be sent to the district by June 15.

Reacting a to a complaint that farmers in Puintal block have not received their compensation amount, Maharathy directed the District Collector to disburse it within three days so that farmer could procure seeds and other items.

A new dress code is also in the offing for the village agriculture workers and it would be implemented within a year, informed Maharathi and directed the VAWs and other officials to treat the farmers with dignity and listen to their grievances with patience. A direct communication line would be opened between the farmers and the Ministry, he informed further.

In 1996 during the severe drought, the district administration decided to construct a tank by the side of each tube well so that a person taking water from tube well would pour some water in it and the cattle and other animals would drink water from there. However, the scheme failed with structures either damaged or non-existent, Minister was told.

The farmers said that the Government has decided to provide 90 per cent subsidy if four farmers in a cluster dig deep bore well but a deep bore well is making a tube well dry. So they suggested to the Minister to rethink over it.

To provide solution to the problem of harassment by banks in opening of account, Director Agriculture RS Gopalan directed the District Collector to take necessary steps to open zero balance account in the bank and action against them not cooperating. Gopalan also assured that the defunct seed processing unit in the district would be made functional in a month. A total of 35 farmers were honoured with shawl and citation on the occasion.

June 16, 2011 at 4:30 pm Leave a comment

Farmers of Nuapada district facing problem during paddy procurement

Following report is from the Samaja:

November 11, 2010 at 11:28 am Leave a comment

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