Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Dec 31:
Accusing the state government of not procuring paddy from the farmers even though paddy is lying in Mandis, the state BJP today demanded an all party meeting immediately to address the problems of farmers and prevent distress sale.
“The distress sale of paddy is a betrayal of the farmers’ community. It is happening due to the anti-farmer policy of the BJD government. Even though the state government in principle had decided to procure all harvested paddy from the farmers, it does not seem interested in doing so, as paddy is lying in the Mandis,” said former Minister and senior BJP leader Manmohan Samal at a press conference here.
He also said that one of the reasons why farmers are committing suicide is that the government agencies have failed to procure paddy.
“Of the total paddy procured at a mandi, the regulated market committee (RMC) takes 2% of the total amount to provide basic facilities there. However, the RMCs are not developing the basic infrastructure even though thousands of crore rupees for the purpose are lying idle,” said Samal.
He said, farmers coming from far-flung areas to sell their produce are not provided night shelter and the mandis do not have sufficient space to stock paddy. Polythene sheets are also not provided to farmers to cover their paddy stock.
Rejecting Rs 100 bonus on every quintal of paddy procured by the state government as ‘lollypop’ for farmers, BJP’s farmers’ wing president Maheswar Sahu demanded a minimum of Rs 500 bonus per quintal to the farmers as an incentive to stick to paddy cultivation for the coming years.
Rejecting the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy fixed by the Centre at Rs 1,310, Sahu said the Centre should reconsider its decision and fix the MSP of paddy at Rs 2,100.