Bhubaneswar: Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has urged the prime minister Narendra Modi to intervene and direct the union department of food and public distribution (DFPD) to lift parboiled rice from State through the FCI during upcoming Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2021-22.

Patnaik, in a letter to the PM on Sunday, has stated that the government of India’s decision not to lift the surplus parboiled rice from Odisha in KMS 2021-22 would greatly affect the paddy procurement exercise in the State and it will badly hit 10 lakh farmers during this worse time of Covid-19 pandemic.

Stating that Odisha became a Decentralized Procurement (DCP) State in the Kharif Marketing Season(KMS) 2003-04 and S

Such Decentralized Procurement has improved the outreach of MSP support to paddy growers. The rice milled from the paddy so procured is being used under the National Food Security Act and Other Welfare Schemes of government of India and the surplus rice is being delivered to the Food Corporation of India (FCI).

Dring the KMS 2020-21, around 14 lakh farmers have sold 77.33 lakh MT of paddy (equivalent to 52.35 MT of rice) to the State Government and MSP dues of about Rs. 14,444 crores have been transferred to the bank accounts of the farmers within 24 to 48 hours of purchase of paddy. This has not only benefited the farmers but also strengthened the rural economy of the State, especially during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The State government has made special efforts to extend procurement operations to remote areas of the State besides putting in place a transparent system in which all processes are leveraged by IT applications.

The CM has pointed out, “In connection with paddy procurement, it is pertinent to mention here that Gol vide their letter dated 31.8.2021 have intimated that for the next KMS no surplus parboiled rice shall be accepted from Odisha by the Food Corporation of India.”

” It may kindly be noted that in upcoming KMS 2021-22 Odisha is estimated to procure 52 lakh MT of rice. The State’s own requirement of rice under all the schemes is about 24 lakh MT. This goes to indicate that the State will have a surplus of 28 lakh MT of rice out of which only 4 lakh MT Will be raw rice. That leaves the State with a balance of 24 lakh MT of parboiled rice for evacuation by FCI. But the latest decision of DFPD has put a question mark on lifting of the said surplus rice from the State.”

Stating that Odisha is primarily a parboiled rice consuming State and, historically, therefore, Odisha’s rice milling industry overwhelmingly produces parboiled rice, Patnaik stated that the State is therefore not in a position to face the situation arising due to a paradigm shift in surplus rice delivery profile imposed on the State by DFPD.

“Non- lifting of the above quantity of surplus parboiled rice from the State due to the restrictions imposed by DFPD has the potential of severely affecting the State’s paddy procurement operations. This will affect about 10 lakh farmers and put them in serious trouble especially during this Covid pandemic situation.”

The chief minister has urged the PM to personally intervene in the matter for issuing a direction to DFPD to accept the estimated surplus parboiled rice from the State for the next KMS 2021-22.