New Delhi: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MPs on Wednesday met Union Food & Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal and submitted a memorandum for lifting of surplus parboiled rice from Odisha.
In the memorandum, the BJD MPs said 14 lakh farmers have sold 77.33 lakh MT of paddy (equivalent to 52.35 MT of rice) by October 10, 2021 during KMS 2020- 21 and Rs 14,444 crore have been transferred to their bank accounts within 24-48 hours of the purchase of their paddy.
This has greatly benefited the farmers of Odisha as well as strengthened the rural economy more so in the aftermath of COVID pandemic, the Memorandum pointed out.
However, the Government of India through its letter (dated 31.8.2021) informed that no surplus parboiled rice shall be accepted from Odisha by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) for the next Kharif Marketing Season, they said.
“This has come as a bolt from the blue and greatly distressed the lakhs of farmers of Odisha, especially from the western and southern regions of Odisha,” read the Memo.
In the upcoming KMS 2021-22, Odisha was estimated to procure 52 lakh MT of rice. The State’s own requirement is about 24 lakh MT rice comprising all the schemes. Thus, a surplus of 28 lakh MT rice would be left with Odisha which would comprise 4 lakh MT raw rice and 24 lakh MT parboiled rice.
Odisha would be left with a surplus of 24 lakh MT of parboiled rice for lifting by the FCI. If the FCI does not lift this 24 lakh MT of parboiled rice due to restrictions imposed by the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) then it would severely affect Odisha’s paddy procurement operations as well as cause distress to 10 lakh farmers, they said.
These 10 lakh farmers would be in deep distress coupled with the existing pains of the COVID pandemic.
“We as public representatives of the people of Odisha and especially on behalf of 10 lakh farmers of Odisha and their families, demand that the Department of Food and Public Distribution should direct the FCI to accept and lift the 24 lakh MT of surplus parboiled rice from Odisha for the next Kharif Marketing Season 2021-22,” the BJD parliamentarians demanded.
If this surplus parboiled rice is not lifted by FCI from Odisha, it would cause immeasurable pain and distress to 10 lakh farmers of the State and their families, they pointed out.
Considering that they have undergone great pain and stress due to the COVID pandemic, the MPs urged Mr.Goyal to direct the FCI to ensure that not a single grain of surplus parboiled rice is left behind in Odisha from the 10 lakh farmers in the KMS 2021-22.