Reported by Sandeep Pattnaik
Bhubaneswar, 26 March 2014:
Odisha-based People’s Manifesto Committee [PMC] on Wednesday released a host of issues which it demanded should be included in the manifestos released by various political parties for the forthcoming general elections-2014 in the state to make them more pragmatic and realistic.
This is the third time in a row that the committee has come out with a slew of suggestions for inclusion in the manifestos of different political parties in the state. PMC had done it in 2004 and 2009 elections earlier.
Among the host of issues flagged off by PMC in its ‘people’s manifesto’ are measures like emphasis on organic farming instead of using chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture; conservation and use of traditional seeds in farming in place of hybrid seeds, setting up of cold-storages in each block to preserve agricultural produces in a bid to augment agricultural productivity in the state.
Besides, it has suggested setting up of a Farmer’s Commission which shall play an important role in deciding the minimum support price (MSP) for agricultural crops for farmers thereby increasing their income.
The other issues included in the draft manifesto are: making large villages having a population of above 2000 into Gram Panchayats, application of Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas[ PESA] Act in the state, strengthening of Palli Sabha / Gram Sabha by conferring of full powers to them, protection of PTG and tribal rights, mining and industrialization, water and sanitation, increasing minimum wages under MGNREGA to Rs 300 from the existing Rs 120-140 level and issuing identity cards to migrant labourers moving outside the state in search of livelihood.
The PMC, in its manifesto already circulated to political parties in Odisha, has also suggested that coal-based thermal power plants [TPPs], which emit large volumes of CO2 and pollute the atmosphere be discouraged as part of the National Energy Policy.
Further the manifesto criticizes the much-touted Odisha climate change action plan [OCCAP] which envisages a budgeted outlay to the tune of Rs 17,000 crore, not based on the realistic facts rather it is more of investment based.
”The OCCAP only says about the amount to be invested in the plan without taking into account various realistic issues at large,” Convener of PMC Sudarshan Chhotray said.