Till now Odisha does not have well organised mandis for procurement of paddy and other agricultural produce, allege peasants’ organisation Rushikulya Rayat Mahasabha and Green Nobel Prize winner social activist Prafulla Samantara.
RRM secretary Simanchal Nahak and Mr. Samantara urged the Odisha government to take a lesson from adjoining Chhattisgarh and open at least 100 full-fledged well-equipped mandis in different parts of the State.
“The government should decide to adopt the Chhattisgarh model to allot funds for the purpose in the next budget,” they added.
According to Mr. Samantara, except for Sambalpur and Bargarh districts, mandi system in Odisha is not yet properly managed and regulated. In comparison, in Chhattisgarh, the mandi system is streamlined through a network that operates from the panchayat level with proper regulatory measures to check exploitation of farmers.
According to Mr. Nahak and Mr. Samantara, mandis should also have facilities for storage of produce brought by farmers as well as facilities for their stay. “In Odisha, mandis should operate round the year as there are several other agricultural produce that are eligible to be procured by the government machinery.”
They demanded at least ₹300 bonus per quintal paddy procured from farmers. They alleged that although paddy procurement was to begin from November 15, the mandis are not operational in several districts, including the Chief Minister’s home district Ganjam.
They also demanded that officials of the Civil Supplies Department be made liable for irregularities during paddy procurement and action be initiated for errors that affect farmers.