Bhubaneswar: Odisha Food Supplies & Consumer Welfare and Cooperation Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain has requested Union Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal for the latter’s intervention in finding urgent solutions to certain issues in a bid to ensure smooth paddy procurement and delivery of rice in Odisha.
In his letter, Swain has mentioned, “Odisha’s own consumption under PDS and other welfare schemes currently comes to around 24 lakh MT of rice. The estimated surplus that needs to be evacuated by FCI from the State in the current KMS would be in the range of 30 lakh MT.”
Highlighting that Odisha became a DCP State in KMS 2003-04 taking up the responsibility of procuring paddy direct from farmers, the Odisha Food Supplies and Cooperation Minister further mentions, “Due to consistent efforts of the Government in extending the outreach of MSP programme, Odisha has become the 4th highest contributor of foodgrains to the central Pool. Odisha is primarily a parboiled consuming State. Raw rice is consumed only in six districts. Most of the rice mills in the State are parboiled mills. Therefore, asking the State to deliver surplus rice in the form of raw rice in Rabi and to limit procurement of parboiled rice in the Kharif to the extent of 50% of last year FCI delivery will have far reaching consequences for the State.”
Drawing attention of the Union Minister to another problem of pending subsidy amount, the Odisha Minister has urged him to release it urgently.
In this context, Swain in his letter to Goyal has mentioned, “Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC), the agency which performs paddy procurement has so far borrowed a staggering sum of Rs 15,000 crore to run the programme by way of upfront investment. This high volume of bank loan is mainly due to non release of subsidy by Department of Food and Public Distribution. OSCSC has pending subsidy claims towards provisional and advance subsidy totaling Rs 6039 crore. Since all resources including sanctioned limit of bank finances has been exhausted by OSCSC, further paddy procurement from farmers may be severely affected. The pending subsidy, therefore, may be released urgently.”