GUNTUR: The Krishna delta farmers are struggling to sell their paddy stock as the millers are not coming forward to purchase citing dis-colouration, damage due to the recent rains in Guntur district.
Although the chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has promised to pick up the entire paddy damaged following Nivar cyclone, the Civil Supplies Corporation is dilly-dallying to procure the stock. Sources said that shortage of funds with the Civil Supplies Corporation is delaying the purchases from farmers. Sources said that the state government is also waiting for the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to relax procurement norms before starting to buy stocks.
Although the district administration set up exclusive paddy procurement centres, the authorities of the Civil Supplies Corporation are neither procuring the stock directly nor motivating the rice millers to start procurement. The millers have so far purchased just around 600 metric tonnes of stock against the total expected crop of 10 lakh metric tonnes during the Kharif.
In fact, the government asked the millers to procure at least 3 lakh metric tonnes and readied a plan to procure another 4 lakh metric tonnes for its own needs including to supply for Public Distribution Scheme (PDS) and social welfare hostels.
However, the procurement is going at a very slow pace although harvest is nearing completion in the entire Krishna delta. State civil supplies commissioner Kona Sasidhar has issued guidelines to district collectors on procurement of damaged, discoloured, sprouted paddy. He asked the collectors to keep the completely damaged stocks in separate godowns without mixing it with the fine stocks.
Realising that the situation is grim in the district, in-charge minister Ch Sriranganatha Raju has asked the millers to start procurement of paddy to bail out farmers. He asked the millers not to take the situation to their advantage as the farmers have already lost heavily due to the cyclone.
The minister directed the district collector to expedite the procurement from the farmers without any delay.