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Paddy MSP totally disappointing, says Odisha CM

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today termed Centre’s hiking of minimum support price (MSP) of paddy for 2017-18 by mere Rs 80 per quintal to Rs 1,550 yesterday as ‘totally disappointing’.

“The decision of the Union government on the minimum support price yesterday is totally disappointing,” Patnaik said in his reaction to the announcement of MSP for paddy by the Union government yesterday.

“The issue of farmers is a national issue which cannot be solved without the support of the Union government,” he added.

The Congress too lambasted the Centre for the disappointing hike in MSP for paddy while calling upon farmers and all political parties in the state including the BJP to take to the streets over the issue.

“The raising of the MSP for paddy by a meagre Rs 80 per quintal by the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre is ridiculous. The BJP government has ridiculed farmers. No incident is more shameful than this. I urge farmers to take to the streets over this issue. I would also urge all political parties including the BJP to protest on this matter as they too had supported the resolution on paddy MSP in the state Assembly. This act of Narendra Modi government towards farmers is unfortunate and shameful,” said Tara Prasad Bahinipati, senior Congress leader and Opposition Chief Whip in the state Assembly.

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) condemned the Centre for the meagre hike in paddy MSP.

“The BJD strongly condemns this. We condemn the anti-farmer policy of the Central government. The Kisan Morcha of our party will soon launch an agitation against this after discussing the matter with our party chief,” said BJD spokesperson Samir Ranjan Dash.

Cornered over the issue, the BJP said that it too wished paddy farmers got a better MSP while saying that the state government should not be happy by merely shifting the blame to the Central government.

“There are no two opinions on this matter. We too want that Odisha farmers get more. The Central government has raised the MSP of paddy by Rs 80 per quintal. It would have been better had it been a little more for the farmers of the state. We too want that. It’s not proper for the state government to rejoice by merely shifting the blame on the Centre. The CAG in its report has stated that a scam to the tune of Rs 300 crore has occurred in the procurement of paddy. The state government has taken no action on this,” said Samir Mohanty vice president of BJP state unit.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has, however, said that farming and farmers’ issues are the responsibility of both state and Central governments.

“Farming is the subject of both the governments. As per information available with me, MSP has been hiked thrice each both in Kharif and Rabi seasons in the last three years. What has the state government done?” asked Pradhan while giving a list of farmer friendly measures and schemes undertaken by the Centre.

“The local government here only knows to make allegations and shirk away from its responsibilities. It believes in histrionics. People are aware of it. We are committed to increasing farmers’ income with less input costs,” he added.

It is worth mentioning here that all parties during the last session of the Odisha Assembly had unanimously adopted a resolution to seek Rs 2,930 as the MSP for paddy. Even a House Committee headed by the Speaker of the state Assembly had sought appointment from the Prime Minister to submit its memorandum on this issue. However, the Prime Minister’s Office is yet to respond to the House Committee.