Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 12:
Thousands of farmers under the banner of Navnirman Krushak Sangathan (NKS) today organised massive demonstrations demanding price, prestige and pension across four districts of Odisha.
The agitating farmers went on to gherao the collector’s offices in Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Dhenkanal, and Jajpur districts. Even though the demonstrations were largely peaceful, hundreds of agitators were arrested from these towns as a precautionary measure.
“The government has enough money to distribute freebees to please various sections of the society. A government official of the rank of a peon makes as much as Rs 16,000. The MLAs and the MPs earn in lakhs. All of them earn pension at the end of their service period. What is wrong if we demand pension for the hardworking farmers,” questioned NKS State Coordinator Akshay Kumar.
“There is no reason why someone would be interested in farming, if the government doesn’t take care of their financial interests. Besides, facilitation of adequate technical knowhow, seeds, fertilizers, loans and irrigation facilities are among our demands. Instead of listening to us, the police are arresting our men. This is not going to work. We will continue our agitation, no matter what,” 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.