Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Mar 23:
Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare will address the Jai Kishan Mahasamabesh, a farmers’ convention to be organised by the Navnirman Krushak Sangathan (NKS) at the PMG square here on April 1 this year.
Magsaysay award-winning water conservationist Dr Rajendra Singh Rane and noted Gandhian activist PV Rajgopal will also address the state level convention in which thousands of farmers would participate, NKS coordinator Akshaya Kumar told media persons at a press conference here on Sunday.
The NKS would call on all political parties and candidates contesting the general election to include agriculture in their election manifesto as a top priority at this convention. “The governments which comes to power after the election has to solve the farmers’ problem in the state. If they don’t, we will throw them out of their position,” said Akshaya.
Seshadev Nanda, another member of NKS, said the sangathan had completed a 50-day long Padayatra in 10 districts to make people aware about the real situation that the farmers face in the State. Cotton mills, sugar mills and several agricultural-based industries lie in defunct condition in the state, forcing thousands of farmers to migrate to other states to work as labourers, he said. “The sangathan wants a firm commitment from the parties to eradicate farmers’ genuine problems in the state, if they are voted to power,” Nanda said.
The farmer activists have been demanding compensation of Rs 2,000 per month to farmers affected by Cyclone Phailin in October last year and Rs.500 bonus for 100 kg of paddy over the minimum support price of Rs 1,350 a quintal.
The sangathan, which has been fighting for years to get the genuine demands of the farmers fulfilled, held a sit-in demonstration in front of state assembly on December 9 last year, seeking an appointment with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and then blocked Patnaik’s convoy on December 24 after he refused to meet them.