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BJD puts paddy non-procurement ball in centre’s court

A delegation of BJD MPs met Union Food and Civil Supplies Minister Piyush Goyal at Delhi and raised the issue submitting the major problems faced by the state in terms of paddy procurement.

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneswar |

In the wake of sustained tirade by the Opposition BJP and Congress over non-procurement of huge stocks of paddy and farmers distress, the ruling BJD put the ball in the court of the central government stating non-release of subsidy and tardy evacuation by FCI were the major hindrances.

A delegation of BJD MPs met Union Food and Civil Supplies Minister Piyush Goyal at Delhi and raised the issue submitting the major problems faced by the state in terms of paddy procurement.

Currently, procurement of paddy (Kharif crop) is in full swing in Odisha and is 19 per cent higher than the corresponding period in the previous season.

But the Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC), the agency which performs paddy procurement has so far borrowed a staggering sum of Rs. 19,000 crore to conduct the procurement operations by way of upfront investment while the subsidy of Rs 5616 crore to be provided by the centre remains pending.

Non release of subsidy in time leads to a huge interest burden on the OSCSC. As on date, we have already suffered a cumulative loss of about Rs. 1721.16 crore due to delay in release of subsidy, stated the BJD MPs while adding that the centre has refused to bear the interest burden.

The other major problem is poor evacuation by the FCI, charged the BJD.

Odisha’s own consumption under PDS and other welfare schemes currently comes to around 24 lakh MT of rice. The estimated surplus that needs to be evacuated by FCI from the State is 30 lakh MT. Till 13 March , FCI has evacuated only 6.65 LMT of rice. Due to non evacuation of surplus rice the mills will come to a halt and due to break in cycle lifting of paddy from mandi to mills will be severely affected stated the BJD.

Loss of 1 LMT of rice due to deterioration in quality means a loss of about Rs. 320 crore. If, like previous year, FCI lifts only 17 lakh MT of rice then 13 LMT rice will be left resulting in a loss of over Rs 4160 crore, said the BJD MPs.