BHAWANIPATNA: Despite being one of the leading paddy producing districts of the State, Kalahandi has been facing hurdles in paddy procurement due to inadequate godown space. Around 50 lakh quintals of paddy of kharif and rabi seasons are procured each year in the district which has godown space to store only nine lakh quintals of rice under Odisha State Warehousing Corporation and Central Warehousing Corporation.
During kharif and rabi seasons, the procured paddy is lifted by the authorised rice mills under Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC) as Custom Millers to process the paddy and supply the milled rice amounting to 30 to 35 lakh quintals. The district has rice godowns at Jaipatna, Koksara, Junagarh, Dharamgarh, Kesinga and Bhawanipatna which are managed by OSCSC.
Each month, only 84,000 quintals of rice are lifted from these godowns for public distribution system (PDS). There is a persistent demand by the farmers as well as millers to create space in the godowns to accommodate milled rice of the Custom Millers and additional godowns to keep the surplus rice.
A rice mill owner said the Custom Millers are facing problem to deliver rice on time due to lack of godown space. The mills also cannot keep the rice for long time as it will damage the produce. Unfortunately, the Government has not taken any step to either construct more godowns in the district or allow inter-state movement of rice, he added.
Contacted, District Civil Supply Officer Ballav Dash said liquidation of stock from the godowns is one of the reasons for slow delivery of rice by the mills. In last kharif season, 93 mills lifted 32 lakh quintals of paddy and had to supply 22 lakh quintals of rice to OSCSC. But, they have supplied only 13 lakh quintals of rice so far. The supply is delayed mostly due to lack of space in the godowns, he added.
Similarly, during the current rabi season, 59 mills lifted 12 lakh quintals of paddy from the procurement centres and have to deliver eight lakh quintals of rice to OSCSC. Thus, godown space to accommodate total 17 lakh quintals of rice is required. But, the space in the godowns can house only about 30,000 quintals at present. However, OSCSC is taking steps to transport the stock to other districts, Dash added.