Orissa wants paddy procurement norms relaxed

Saturday, January 1, 2011

BHUBANESWAR - Orissa has requested the central government to relax paddy and rice procurement norms for the state as its farmers faced a calamity of rare severity in 2010, an official said Saturday.

The quality of the paddy in the state was affected due to drought conditions and unseasonal cyclonic rains in 2010.

“We have requested the central government to relax norms for both procurement of paddy and rice without cut in the minimum support price,” an official of the state revenue and disaster management department told IANS.

“This will prevent distress sale and mitigate the hardship of farmers,” he said, adding that the central government has already relaxed the norms for Punjab and Andhra Pradesh.

Orissa contributes about one-tenth of the country’s rice output. The state has about four million hectares of land under paddy cultivation. Over 62 percent of its cropped area is rain-fed.

The official said that over seven lakh hectares of cropped area in more than 11,000 villages incurred crop loss of more than 50 percent due to the acute drought the state witnessed during August and September. “The crop loss due to this is estimated to be Rs.4,000 crore,” he said.

“Similarly, around 12 lakh hectares of agriculture land in more than 26,000 villages suffered a crop loss of more than 50 percent due to heavy unseasonal rain in December. This loss is estimated to be Rs.6,000 crore,” he said.

“We have also asked the central government to hike the agriculture input subsidy as the current rates are grossly inadequate,” he added.

The current input subsidy is Rs.4,000 and Rs.2,000 for irrigated and rained area respectively. The government wants it to be increased to Rs.20,000 and Rs.10,000 respectively.

During this year’s procurement, the central government did not declare bonus on the minimum support price for paddy.

“A bonus of Rs.100 per quintal over and above the minimum support price for paddy should be declared immediately,” the official said.

Filed under: Economy

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