BHAWANIPATNA: Discontentment is brewing among labourers engaged for weighing and lifting paddy bags in mandis across Kalahandi district.
The labourers, engaged by Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) and Self-Help Groups (SHGs) weigh paddy bags and load them on vehicles hired by millers at the procurement centres. They are paid by the PACS and the amount is reimbursed by Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC).
However, as the rate of labour for the current kharif season has not been fixed by OSCSC, the labourers are being paid at the old rate of Rs 8.47 per quintal. The rate was fixed for rabi season. Interestingly, the labourers were paid Rs 11.19 per quintal in the kharif season of 2017-18.
The PACS cannot disburse the revised amount as they are not allowed to do so unless it is authorised by OSCSC. The PACS are now finding it tough to convince the labourers to work at the old rate. Led by Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, the labourers resorted to strike at Charbahal mandi on December 4 and 5. Similar protests were held by them in Mandal mandi in Kalampur block on December 2.
Deputy Director of Cooperative department Sanand Sahu said the higher authorities have been apprised of the situation. He said PACS cannot pay the enhanced amount to the labourers unless OSCSC does not issue a directive regarding the same.