BJD MPs urge Union min for procurement of Odisha's surplus parboiled rice by FCI
The BJD urged Union minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday to direct Food Corporation of India (FCI) to continue procuring surplus parboiled rice from Odisha in the upcoming Kharif season, failing which it would cause "great distress" to 10 lakh farmers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. A delegation of BJD MPs submitted a memorandum to Goyal in New Delhi, saying the decision had come as a "bolt from the blue" and would affect lakhs of farmers, especially from the western and southern regions of Odisha, a copy of the memorandum said. The demand comes after the food and public distribution minister had said in Parliament last week that only that rice, which is required by other states, could come in the central pool.
The Union government had in August informed that no surplus parboiled rice would be accepted from Odisha by the FCI for the next Kharif season, the memorandum said. Parboiled rice is obtained after soaking husked rice in water, and then heating it so that the starch is fully gelatinised, and then drying it.
The surplus rice, which is left after consumption under the National Food Security Act and other welfare schemes, is delivered to the FCI, whose functions include distribution of foodgrains throughout the country for the public distribution system, and maintaining a satisfactory level of operational and buffer stocks.
In the upcoming Kharif season, Odisha is estimated to procure 52 lakh MT of rice, out of which the state's requirement is about 24 lakh MT for all the schemes. There will be a surplus of 28 lakh tonnes -- 4 lakh MT raw rice and 24 lakh MT parboiled rice, the memorandum stated.
Otherwise, they added, it would severely affect Odisha's paddy procurement operations and "cause immeasurable pain and distress to 10 lakh farmers of the state and their families.
"The farmers of Odisha have suffered due to the Covid pandemic, let us not make them suffer more." On Friday, Goyal had said, "we can only provide the rice that is eaten by the people in specific states and cannot force any particular type of rice on them".
Odisha, Telangana, and other states can produce any type of rice as per their need, he said in the Rajya Sabha.
"But only that rice, which is required by other states, can come in the central pool. The FCI will accordingly procure the rice that has demand in other states," the minister had added.
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