Bhubaneswar, Feb 15 (PTI) The Odisha government today rejected the Centre’s offer to relax the quality norm for procuring paddy from districts affected by unseasonal rains, saying it will “adversely affect” the farmers.

The central government has reduced the minimum support price (MSP) for discoloured paddy from Rs 1,550 to Rs 1,410 per quintal, state Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister S N Patro said.

“This is not acceptable to the state as it will cause serious loss to the farmers. I have requested the chief minister to seek the intervention of the prime minister for the benefit of the farmers,” he said.

The Centre has also relaxed the fair average quality (FAQ) specifications for paddy procurement in 15 districts affected by unseasonal rains, Patro said.

FAQ is used to describe food products such as grain and fruit that are of a good enough quality to be sold. FAQ norms for paddy is laid out by the Centre every year before the start of the procurement season.

“There is no meaning to relax the FAQ when the farmers will not get the appropriate MSP,” he said.

The state government and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who hails from Odisha, separately wrote to the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution to relax FAQ norms for the paddy produced in the 15 unseasonal rain hit districts of Odisha.

Patro said the Centre had in 2010 relaxed the FAQ norms for three districts without changing the MSP.

Pradhan, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, however, said that by rejecting the Centre’s offer, the state government has been forcing the farmers to get a price which will be at the whims of rice millers.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.