Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan urged upon Food, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan to relax the FAQ norm for paddy in Odisha so that farmers can sell their produce and avail the MSP. The farmers of Odisha have failed to maintain quality of paddy crop due to unseasonal rains and pest attacks.
It is a distress situation for them and they need to be rescued, said Pradhan in a letter to Paswan. A team of quality control officers of the FCI had visited and assessed the quality of paddy in the affected districts of Odisha. The FCI team has reportedly found that the paddy does not meet the FAQ standards.
It is understood that unless the central government relaxes the FAQ norms for the paddy crop in Odisha the farmers would be forced to make distress sell of paddy. Pradhan’s letter evoked jibes from the ruling BJD here.
Odisha government had repeatedly written to Paswan and the central government pleading for relaxation of FAQ, but the centre rejected the plea, said state Food Minister S N Patra while wondering where was Pradhan at that point in time. “Has he woke up now, after 50 to 60 per cent of the procurement operations have been completed, he chided.
The BJD alleged that Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan was paying lip service and indulging in political stunt to try and project himself and the central government a pro-farmer when the fact is that the centre did not come to the rescue of farmers of the state. The centre did not revise the MSP nor did it relax the FAQ, charged the BJD.