Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 17:
Thousands of farmers under the banner of Nabanirman Krushak Sangathan today started a two day march from Cuttack to Odisha Capital demanding fulfilment of their various demands.
About 15000 farmers from various parts of the state, largely from Western Odisha were seen in the rally that started from Cuttack railway station today.
The farmers would hold a large demonstration at Lower PMG of Bhubaneswar tomorrow to press for their long pending demands such as payment of compensation to kins of farmers that committed suicide, implementation of pension scheme for farmers, better procurement facilities, higher minimum support price, better social accord and drought compensation.
“The government should not run away from its responsibilities. It needs to acknowledge the suicide of farmers and compensate the next of kins of the deceased. Besides, we demand a pension scheme for farmers that pays them Rs 5000 so that their future is taken care of,” said leader of Nabanirman Krushak Sangathan and Aama Odisha President Soumya Ranjan Patnaik.
“Following the suicide of actor Raja, Odisha police arrested Jessy alleging abetment of suicide. Hundreds of farmers committed suicide in this state. Shouldn’t the government be held responsible? We would like Odisha police to lodge FIRs against Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy for abetment of suicide,” he added.
“The problems are many for us. We fight against the odds just about in every step – starting from seeds, fertilizer etc till we harvest and sell. Isn’t the government supposed to help us? All that they do is keep making speeches. It is the time for change. We want concrete action on the ground instead of hollow assurances. They need to provide us better weather forecast, better seeds, better training pertaining to inclusion of latest technologies and support the sales with a better policy and price,” said Nagendra Sahu, a farmer from drought hit Bargarh district.
“The country survives, if its farmers survive. However, the condition of farmers is pathetic in this country. It is worse off in our state. We have some legitimate demands to make agriculture profitable and make the profession lucrative to new generation,” said Hrusikesh Behera, a farmer from Jagatsinghpur.