Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 18:
Thousands of farmers who marched to Bhubaneswar today under the banner of Nabanirman Krushak Sangathan (NKS) demanding fulfilment of various demands today announced to launch ‘Jail Bharo’ agitation starting March 18 after talks with Odisha government failed today.
The talks between NKS and Odisha government failed to bear any fruit as the government primarily refused to recognize cases of farmer suicide in the state.
“The Government cares for everyone else but farmers. It has the resources to get investigations done even if a peacock or elephant dies. Why can’t it find out the truth behind death of farmers? More than 20 farmers have died from my district. I believe, the government knows the truth and is trying to hide it,” said a farmer leader from Bolangir district speaking to reporters after the meeting.
Earlier in the day, about 15,000 farmers under the banner of Nabanirman Krushak Sangathan today reached Lower PMG area on the second day of their march from Cuttack demanding price, prestige and pension and held a meeting there. Later a team of representatives of the farmers went in for a meeting with Food Supplies & Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjay Das Burma. Representatives from Agriculture and Cooperation departments were also present during the meeting.
The farmers presented various demands such as payment of compensation to kin of farmers that committed suicide, implementation of pension scheme for farmers, better procurement facilities, higher minimum support price, better social recognition and drought compensation among others.
While the talks failed, Minister Das Burma assured that a RDC level committee would be formed and the committee would hold bimonthly meetings to look into the demands and address the concern of the farmers.
The farmers’ body, on the other hand, gave an ultimatum of one month to the government to fulfil all its demands and announced to start a ‘Jail Bharo’ agitation starting March 18, if their demands are not met.