Bhubaneswar, Aug 22:
The Odisha Krushak Sathi Sangha on Thursday staged a massive demonstration in front of the State Assembly and sought immediate fulfilment of their longstanding demands.
According to Sangha president Shivaji Patnaik said their demands had been pending for over two years, but no steps had yet been taken for their improvement. “Nearly 6,000 krushak sathis are leading a hand-to-mouth existence,” he said.
“Out of the 6234 gram panchyats in the state, about 4500 GPs have no village-level agriculture workers (VAWs). We are doing their work as an additional duty without any further incentive,” alleged Sangha general secretary Santosh Kumar Behera.
Krushak Sathis have been demanding wages at the rate paid to skilled labourers, employment of highly educated sathis as VAWs and training in latest technology on agriculture, besides social security, insurance facility, a bicycle, agriculture loan and permanent land for building Krushak Bhawans in Panchayat headquarters.
The Agriculture Department had engaged Krushak Sathis in each gram panchayat (GP) in 2005-06 to help farmers save with ideas of saving their crop and boosting production in 2005-06. The normal work of a krushak sathi involves soil testing, e-water management and crop development work.