Ganjam district units of CPI (M) and Odisha Krushak Sabha (OKS) have alleged irregularities in paddy procurement in the district.

At a meeting of the organisations held in the city on Thursday to discuss this problem of peasants, it was decided that they would go for agitation if the irregularities were not rectified.

As the first step, peasants, members of CPI (M) and OKS will stage a dharna in front of the office of the Ganjam District Collector at Chatrapur on February 20 to highlight the issue.

Apart from members of the district committee of the CPI (M), the meeting was attended by OKS State president Abhiram Behera, its district president Kailash Sadangi and general secretary P. Harikrishna Reddy.

Peasant representatives from different blocks of the district also participated and provided data regarding operation of paddy procurement mandi opened in their areas. Mr. Sadangi said in most of the places it was found that the millers were gaining from the paddy procurement process, while the real farmers were not getting proper price for their produce. “This is occurring due to nefarious nexus between the officials involved in the paddy procurement process and the millers,” said Mr. Sadangi.

Most of the peasant representatives made the allegation that milers were procuring paddy at less than Rs. 1,000 per quintal from the farmers.

These millers were handing over the procured paddy at the government mandi at Rs. 1,200 per quintal through fake names of farmers, alleged Mr. Reddy.

“When real farmers reach the mandi to sell their paddy, the authorities managing the mandi are usually claiming that the quota of procurement had got completed,” the peasant representatives said. Even when real peasants get to sell their produce at the government mandi, they were not getting the payment immediately.

Mr. Behera said the irregularities during paddy procurement in Ganjam district, which was the home district of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik hinted at the similar affair of paddy procurement throughout the State.

Action sought

He asked the State government to initiate strict action so that real farmers rather than unscrupulous millets could benefit from the paddy procurement process.

The two organisations have threatened to launch agitation if the lapses are not rectified