Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 3:
Alleging that the Central government was forcing allocation of wheat in lieu of rice against allocations under the NFSA to Odisha, BJD MLAs today marched in a rally from the Assembly premises to the Raj Bhawan to lodge a complaint with Governor S C Jamir.
In the absence of the Governor at the Raj Bhawan, a delegation of the MLAs met his representative and handed him over a memorandum addressed to the President of India on the matter.
The party has demanded that Odisha being primarily a rice producing and consuming state it should be allocated more rice instead of wheat.
“Our state is primarily rice consuming state. Our state produces more rice. People belonging to tribal and scheduled caste communities have no requirement of wheat. Being very well aware of it, the Central government is supplying wheat instead of rice to Odisha. Currently, the state government is incurring huge expenditure to purchase rice for supplying to the beneficiaries. The Chief Minister has apprised the Centre many times on this account,” said senior BJD MLA and former minister Suryanarayan Patra.
“While our requirement for rice is more than that of wheat, the Central government is forcing us to take wheat. The chief secretary has several times written to the Central government in this context. Demand for rice is more in Odisha. 24 percent of state’s tribal and schedule caste populace do not depend on wheat as their staple food. Protesting against that we have submitted a memorandum to the Governor,” said BJD spokesperson and Nimapara MLA Samir Dash.
The MLAs had earlier in the day discussed the matter at room no. 54 of the state Assembly. The meeting was attended by MLAs and Ministers of the BJD.
The opposition Congress, on the other hand, has said that since the government is not prepared to discuss chit fund issue in the Assembly it has raised the issue of rice and wheat as a ploy to divert public attention.
“The government is not willing to debate the chit fund issue since it will reveal their links with the Ponzi firms. People from the ruling party have taken huge sums from Ponzi firms. In order to divert public attention they have raised the wheat and rice issue as a ploy,” said Tara Prasad Bahinpati, Opposition chief whip in the state Assembly in his reactions on the BJD submitting a memorandum to the Governor.