Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has asked officials to pay cost of paddy to farmers within 24 hours through cooperative banks and within 72 hours through other banks. He also directed the officials to ensure that all mandis remain open during paddy procurement. Patnaik's directions were issued yesterday during a review meeting of the ongoing paddy procurement programme. He said more farmers, especially small and marginal ones, should register their names for selling paddy at mandis this year. At least 11.05 lakh farmers have registered their till January 9 against 9.76 farmers enrolled during the corresponding time during the last Kharif season. A total of 17.90 lakh tonne of paddy worth Rs 2,736 crore has been procured from 3 lakh farmers till January 9 and a total of Rs 2,356.75 crore has been disbursed to farmers. By this time last year, 14.11 lakh metric tonne of paddy had been procured, officials said.
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