BHAWANIPATNA: Placing tattered gunny bags with paddy seeds sprouting out on the NH-26 at Charbahal, helpless farmers resorted to road blockade here for eight hours on Wednesday in protest against erratic procurement by the Government.
A large stock of paddy lying unsold in mandis and homes of farmers has been damaged in the rains. Despite having tokens to sell their produce, they could not do so as mandis were abruptly closed by the Civil Supply Department.
The district was given a target to procure 32 lakh quintal paddy of rabi crop season from farmers and by the end of procurement, around 25,000 quintal paddy remained unsold. As the State Government did not take any measures to procure the additional paddy, the stock was damaged in the rains and the seeds germinated.
Around 1,000 farmers have been affected in seven mandis at Dharamgarh, Charbahal, Belguda, Maliguda, Chakuli and Habaspur. Farmers alleged that many of them had received tokens to sell paddy but before they could do so, procurement was closed by the department and State Government did not give an additional procurement target to Kalahandi administration. In Dharamgarh mandi, 226 farmers having tokens are now running from pillar to post to sell their paddy.
The irate farmers placed paddy bags on the NH and blocked it from 6 am. After being assured by Sub-Collector of Dharamgarh, Padmanav Behera to apprise the State Government about the procurement issue, they withdrew the blockade at 2 pm.