Naveen writes to Paswan for release of pending food subsidy

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Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday requested the Centre to release the pending food subsidy to Odisha to ensure timely payment to farmers

BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday requested the Centre to release the pending food subsidy to Odisha to ensure timely payment to farmers.“It is a matter of concern that the subsidy bills amounting to `3654.41 crore (which includes the advance subsidy bills up to March, 2019) relating to Odisha are pending with the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD).

Such a huge pendency is causing shortage of funds at Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited (OSCSC), which may become a major road block for ensuring timely payment for farmers,” the Chief Minister said in a letter to Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan.

Naveen said the OSCSC, a State PSU, has been undertaking procurement of paddy since 2003-04 on behalf of Odisha Government, funds for which are entirely borrowed from banks. “Due to Paddy Procurement Automation System (P-PAS), an effective and transparent system put in place by the State Government, the quantum of paddy procurement has grown manifold and the cost of paddy is being directly transferred to the accounts of farmers,” he said and added that last year, the Government had transferred about `7,600 crore directly to the accounts of farmers.

Stating that this year Odisha Government has already procured more than 40 lakh tonne of paddy and more than `6,000 crore has been transferred to the accounts of farmers, Naveen said due to procurement of such huge quantity, OSCSC is almost on the verge of reaching its cash credit limit. “In order to ensure that adequate funds are available with OSCSC for payment to farmers, it is necessary that the food subsidy is regularly released by DFPD to Odisha Government,” he said.

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