Procurement of paddy by the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation has begun in this district where light rain is being experienced occasionally in several parts of the district.
According to sources, direct purchase centres (DPC) have been opened at 53 places in Orathanadu and Thanjavur blocks to procure paddy. They were opened at places where the requirement for a DPC came from farmers, from December 20, 2019. A total of 398.520 tonnes of paddy had been procured till December 31, 2019 as per the guidelines announced by the corporation.
However, Orathanadu farmers, who normally go in for early samba cultivation of medium term varieties, were in fix as they feel that under the present conditions it may not be possible for them to get their produce measured at the DPCs in view of moisture content rule of the corporation.
Though the meteorological department indicate that north-east monsoon was retreating, the delta region continues to get light showers occasionally and it was confirmed by weather predictors who have said light showers might occur for the next two to three days, said the Nasuvini Riverbed Dam Farmers Development Association president V.Veerasenan.
Besides, there is early morning dew. In view of water flow in Grand Anaicut Canal and in sub-canals/channels branching off from it, the moisture level of land mass particularly in ayacuts continue to be high. So, it might not be possible for farmers to meet the stipulated maximum moisture content of 17 %. Even drying the paddy using hot air blowers may not work out as the moisture level in the harvested paddy might be in the range of 20 to 23 % or even more.
If the corporation is firm on moisture content rule, it could procure paddy from February or March because then only the moisture content would come down to 17 % or below, he said.
Thanjavur District Cauvery Farmers Protection Association secretary S.Vimalanathan said this situation was not a new one and it has become a recurring feature whenever the farmers were able to see through the samba cultivation. In order to negate the impact of moisture content rule during initial days of procurement, the corporation would apply for relaxation to the Union Government through the State Government.
A meeting of stake holders in paddy procurement has to be convened. “But this meeting was not convened this year in view of local body elections. Had they convened the meeting and recorded views of paddy producers, officials could have approached the Centre and got the moisture content rule relaxed by this time,”,he said.
Meanwhile, Collector M.Govinda Rao inspected the procurement process being carried out at Neivasal and Keezha Vuloor DPCs in Orathanadu taluk on December 31, 2019. He visited the TNCSC godown at Chennampatti where 4.57 lakh gunny bags had been kept ready for procurement purpose. In all around 78 lakh gunny bags were in possession of the corporation to carry out the samba-thaladi procurement exercise in Thanjavur district, sources said.