Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Jeypore, Nov 20:
A 12 hour bandh called by Koraput District Krushak Kalyan Mancha today paralyzed life in the Southern Odisha town of Jeypore.
The farmers have called for the bandh as they are yet to receive payments for the Rabi crops they sold at the government run paddy procurement centers last season.
The agitators took out a large rally from Raja Nahar square that criss-crossed the town to highlight their demand. Besides, the agitating farmers have blocked various important junctions of the town and picketing continues as we write this report.
“The government is yet to disburse our due. All that they are trying to do is buy more time. We had urged the collector to pay us our due, but he hasn’t done anything till now. This forced us to come to the streets. We would continue the stir until we receive our payments,” said Swarup Samantray an agitating farmer.
Many social organisations, all labor associations of the town along with the local unit of Communist party have supported the bandh. Interestingly, members from both ruling BJD and opposition Congress were seen on the ground along with protesters supporting the cause.
“We ask the government to release the payment of the farmers first and then go ahead their meetings. Every time there is a complaint, they form a committee and seek for a report. This is nothing but politics,” said Opposition Chief Whip and Jeypore MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati taking a dig at the government.
Ruling BJD was also up in arms against the district administration.
“This government has a clear policy to pay the farmers their due on time. The Chief Minister has also issued a clear direction. The farmers are angry as the district administration is taking time to pay the dues. I expect the district administration to arrange for the payments in the shortest possible time after the protests today,” said BJD Spokesperson Rabi Narayan Nanda.
Even though largely peaceful, the effect of the bandh was visible on business establishments, public transportation, educational institutions and government offices of the town. Passengers were seen stranded at bus stops as most vehicles stayed off the road. Adequate security arrangements have been taken by the district administration to avoid any untoward incident.