Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 13:
The BJP today launched a scathing attack on the Odisha government for its lackadaisical attitude towards farmers on the issue of paddy procurement.
In a release, senior BJP leader Jaya Narayan Mishra said state-wide farmers’ agitation has become a routine affair during the harvest season every year during the tenure of the Naveen Patnaik-led government.
“The situation is due to the fact that the state government has deliberately not formulated a clear cut procurement policy to safeguard the interest of the millers. The poor farmers are paying the price of the clandestine deal entered into by the ministers and the officials with the millers”, Mishra said.
He wondered why the state government is yet to follow the procurement policy of the neighbouring Chhattisgarh that has put a unique benchmark in the country.
Referring to the procurement target of the state government, the BJP leader said the government had decided to procure 18 quintals of paddy per acre of irrigated land and 11.25 quintals from non-irrigated land.
“As a result of this policy, the farmers who have harvested more paddy are unable to sell their produce. There are instances where the concerned authorities, instead of procuring paddy from the market yard, are transporting them directly to the millers by giving them a free hand to determine the price. There are reports that some millers have forced the farmers to sell the paddy by deducting the price of 5-10 kgs from each paddy sack,” Mishra pointed out.
He also alleged that the while the state government had announced to provide cheques to the farmers against the procurement, the decision has remained on paper as the government has allowed the millers to determine procurement price.
“This has forced the farmers to sell their produce for much lower than the minimum support price (MSP) announced by the government, to these millers,” Mishra noted.