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Farmers in Odisha's Kalahandi district today put up a road blockade in at least three places, including on NH 26 in protest against non-procurement of paddy at the designated centres. Rabi paddy procurement has been paralysed in the backward district as custom millers have stopped work for the past three days as a mark of protest against an order of Odisha Civil Supply Corporation to stop payment of handling charges of Rs 4 per quintal paid to them. About 60 custom millers are engaged for the Rabi paddy procurement in the district. Odisha Civil supply Corporation in its June 12 order discontinued the handling charges paid to the custom millers for delivering the stock of rice at RRC cum DSC and stacking inside the godown. About 2 lakh quintals of Rabi paddy are yet to be procured from farmers. 12.51 lakh quintals of Rabi Paddy has already been purchased in 70 purchasing centers run by 43 Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies, the district civil supply officer Siba Prasad Dora said. Delay in procurement of paddy by the state government has become a major problem for the farmers due to the onset of monsoon.
They fear that bags of paddy bags stocked at different procurement centres may get spoilt in the rain. As a result of the blockade on NH 26 and Dasigaon Mandi road vehicular movement was disrupted on Nabarangpur-Bhawanipatna road and between Junagarh and Kalampur respectively. The road communication between Baldiamal and Dharamgarh was also disrupted due to a road blockade near Naktiguda mandi by farmers. Dora said the district administration is keeping close watch on the development and negotiating with the millers to complete procurement of Rabi paddy. "If the millers do not agree, then millers from outside the district will be engaged to complete the procurement," he said.
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