Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Jajpur, Sep 1:
Thousands of farmers of Odisha under the banner of Navnirman Krushak Sangathan today staged a massive rally at Brundadeipur village under Dharmasala block in Jajpur district to press for their long standing demands of price, prestige and pension.
While representatives from 1300 villages of Jajpur district attended the meeting today, the farmers’ body said that similar protest rallies will be staged across the state in coming days.
“Everything has changed over time barring the fate of the farmers. At a time when slogans are being raised for second independence, I believe the foundation stone for the second independence movement was laid here today. Almost 70 percent of the population of Odisha are dependent on farming. However, one would detest himself after seeing the condition of farmers,” said Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, the advisor of Navnirman Krushak Sangathan and editor of Odia daily ‘Sambad’ speaking to reporters after addressing the huge congregation.
“We talk about industrialisation here in Jajpur. However, Nagada also exists here. People carry bodies on their shoulder in Kalahandi. The farmers fail to see progress in any area. I urge the farmers of the state to stand together so that they can compete in the number game and teach those a lesson who have become arrogant after winning the numbers game,” he added.
Explaining the significance of the day, the location, and the rally, State Convenor of Navnirman Krushak Sangathan Akshay Kumar explained, “Today we are celebrating the diamond jubilee of the Farmers’ Day that was originally observed by Utkal Krushaka Sangha on Sep 1, 1938 here led by Nabakrushna Choudhuri, Malati Devi and Sarangadhar Das. That meeting changed the dynamics of struggle against the British rule. We will here focus on methods of organising politics through people and bring together the farmers of the state to give them their legitimate demands on price, prestige and pension”.
“The farmers have suffered the most in past 70 years. They have nothing to speak of. Neither do they have social security, nor do they have prestige. They do not get the correct procurement price for their produce. They do not even have an organisation to channel their demands. That is the reason we are trying to unite them. I am sure the government will be forced to give in to their demands, should the farmers come together,” he added.
It may be noted here that the farmers have long been demanding payment of compensation to the families of farmers that committed suicide, provision of Rs 5,000 pension for farmers, better procurement facilities, higher minimum support price, better social recognition and drought compensation among others.