Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for lifting of the estimated surplus parboiled rice from the state in upcoming Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2021-22.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, he said around 14 lakh farmers in the state have sold 77.33 lakh MT of paddy (equivalent to 52.35 MT of rice) during KMS 2020-21 and MSP dues of about Rs 14,444 crore have been transferred to the bank accounts of these farmers within 24 to 48 hours, and this has not only benefited the farmers but also strengthened the rural economy, especially during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the Centre, vide a letter on August 31, intimated that for the next KMS, no surplus parboiled rice shall be accepted from Odisha by the Food Corporation of India, he noted.
In upcoming KMS 2021-22, Odisha is estimated to procure 52 lakh MT of rice, Patnaik said, adding that the state’s own requirement under all the schemes is about 24 lakh MT, and this will mean a surplus of 28 lakh MT 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 the FCI. But, the latest decision of the Department of Food and Public Distribution has put a question mark on lifting of the said surplus rice from the state,” he said.
As Odisha is primarily a parboiled rice consuming state, the rice milling industry in the state overwhelmingly produces parboiled rice. Therefore, he said, the state is not in a position to face the situation arising due to a paradigm shift in surplus rice delivery profile imposed on the state.
“Non-lifting of the above quantity of surplus parboiled rice from the state due to the restrictions imposed by the 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,” Patnaik said.
He requested the PM for issuing a direction to the DFPD to accept the estimated surplus parboiled rice from the state for the next KMS 2021-22, and that reasonable time may also be given to the state to align itself with the requirements.