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Way behind target: Jharkhand procures 1.47 lakh MT paddy in three months

Food minister directs officials to expedite procurement process, warns to blacklist agencies if they fail to improve the situation

ranchi Updated: Mar 09, 2018 12:30 IST
Sanjoy Dey
Sanjoy Dey
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Jharkhand,Paddy Procurement,Saryu Roy
Farmers preparing their paddy crop at a village in Ranchi (HT File Photo)

Jharkhand may boast of record paddy production this kharif season, but the state government is on way to failing miserably in achieving the procurement target even after giving Rs 150 as bonus on minimum support price (MSP) to farmers.

More than three months have lapsed since the government launched paddy procurement process on December 1 last year, but the achievement is merely 37% of the target so far.

The state’s food and civil supplies department has set a target of four lakh metric tonne paddy procurement from farmers till March 31, out of total paddy output of 49 lakh MT.

“We have procured over 1.47 lakh MT paddy till date and are expecting to procure more than two lakh metric tonne by March 31,” said food director Sunil Kumar Sinha.

Last year, the department had procured 2.30 lakh metric tonne paddy against the target of four lakh MT.

This year, the department engaged multiple resources to procure paddy from across the state. State Food Corporation (SFC) was tasked to procure around 1.55 lakh MT from North Chotanapur and Santhal Pargana, while FCI had to procure about 30,000 MT from Palamu division. The FCI hired NCML for procuring around 2.15 lakh MT paddy from South Chotanagpur and Kolhan divisions.

In a move aimed at benefitting farmers, the state government granted bonus of Rs 150 per quintal to farmers on MSP. The Central government hiked the MSP of paddy to Rs 1,550 per quintal for 2017-18 from Rs 1,470 in 2016-17. With Rs 150 bonus, a farmer in Jharkhand is getting Rs 1,700 per quintal for paddy procurement this year.

The department registered over 1.11 lakh farmers this year to provide them hassle free and cashless procurement service. Under the new system, farmers get SMSes mentioning the scheduled date and centre of procurement.

Sources in the department said farmers received good money from private parties also this year. “The private party offered Rs 1,600 to Rs 1,650 per quintal paddy to farmers. This was one of the major reasons for poor procurement,” said an official, who wished not to be quoted.

State food and public distribution minister Saryu Roy held a meeting with department officials and district supply officers (DSO) here on Thursday and asked them to expedite the procurement process.

“Complaints about poor procurement, delays in SMS sending and payment are coming from areas where SFC has been engaged to procure paddy. We had blacklisted NACOF agency for these reasons last year. The same mistake is being repeated by the SFC now,” Roy said during the meeting.

The minister also warned the NCML to improve paddy supply from farmers’ place to rice mill in a week. “Otherwise, we will blacklist the agency,” the minister said.

Roy also directed the official to immediately release payments against paddy procurement to farmers.

First Published: Mar 09, 2018 12:30 IST