Odisha to procure 30 lakh tonnes paddy this year

Bhubaneswar, Sep 30 (IANS) The Odisha cabinet on Wednesday approved the state food and procurement policy for kharif marketing season (KMS) 2015-16 that targets to procure 30 lakh tonnes of paddy in kharif and rabi seasons.

An initial target of 30 lakh tonnes of paddy has been fixed for kharif season 2015-16 by the government procuring agencies, said Chief Secretary G.C. Pati.

As much as 23 lakh tonnes in kharif and 7 lakh tonnes in rabi season would be procured from the farmers in the state, Pati said. Government agencies would be allowed to procure paddy from the Regulated Market Committee yards (mandis).

Payment to the paddy farmers by government agencies would be through on-line transfer in 160 Paddy Procurement Automation System (P-PAS) blocks and through cheques in non-P-PAS blocks, said the chief secretary.

P-PAS was implemented earlier in 60 high procuring blocks of the state during the kharif season 2014-15 and it has been extended to another 100 blocks.

The cabinet also approved the revival of a medical college and hospital in Kalahandi district.

The state government has taken over the ailing medical college and would induct a suitable private partner through public-private partnership framework for ensuing the revival and sustainable operationalisation of the medical college.

“The state government decided to transfer 124 students pursuing degree course in the medical college in the last two years to private medical colleges in Bhubaneswar. We have sought Medical Council of India (MCI) approval,” said development commissioner U.N. Behera.

Citing lack of infrastructure and adequate faculty, the MCI had withdrawn recognition to the college that was developed by Western Odisha Development Council and a private educational trust.

The chief secretary said the Orissa High Court has directed all concerned, including the MCI, to take necessary steps for the smooth functioning of the medical college.

The cabinet also accorded nod for loan assistance of $51.20 million (Rs.312.37 crore) by International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) for infrastructure and livelihood development of particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTG) in the state.

The state government would avail of external assistance from IFAD for implementing the Empowerment and Livelihood Improvement Programme in 1,019 villages, where the PVTG reside.

While the total project cost is Rs.795.41 crore ($130.39 million), the state’s share would be Rs.464.73 crore ($76.18 million).

The project to enable improved livelihood, food and nutrition security for 32,091 PVTG households and several other scheduled castes and scheduled tribes living in the villages would be implemented from 2015-16 to 2022-23.

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