The State Congress on Thursday demanded a minimum bonus of Rs 300 to the farmers over and above the minimum support price of Rs 1,250 per quintal of paddy announced by the Centre.
“We request the State Government to provide a bonus of at least Rs 300 per quintal of paddy over and above the minimum support price in view of the increasing agricultural input costs,” Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik told a media conference here.
Since paddy procurement during the current kharif marketing season will start on November 1, the government should declare the bonus to the farmers immediately, Patnaik said and added that his party would welcome a bonus of more than Rs 300.
Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have already announced bonus over the MSP and the Odisha Government should emulate them, he added.
Accusing the government of neglecting farmers and failing to provide them water for irrigation, fertilisers, seeds and insecticides in time, Patnaik said farmers should be compensated for the high input costs, including labour.
The OPCC chief said farmers spoke about their plight to the Congress leaders during the week-long ‘parivartan padayatra’ which concluded on Tuesday. He threatened to launch a farmers’ agitation if the minimum bonus was not granted.
The hike in the minimum wage announced by the government is grossly inadequate and unrealistic given the price rise of all essential commodities, he said.
Assailing Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for limiting his padayatra to the State Capital, the OPCC chief advised the former to visit rural areas to find out the minimum wage needs of the labourers.
There is an acute shortage of agricultural labourers due to the poor wage paid to them. The Congress chief asked the Chief Minister to review the minimum wage hike.
To a query on the multi-crore mining scam being probed by the Justice MB Saha Commission, he reiterated the party’s demand for a CBI probe and wondered why the Chief Minister was reluctant to recommend it.
“If the Chief Minister did not favour anyone in coal block allotment as he claims, what prompted him to call off the MoU with Sainik Mining,” he questioned.
While describing the attack on BJD leaders at Puri as an outcome of the ruling party’s internal bickering, the OPCC chief said the black flag demo at Koraput during the Chief Minister’s visit was a reflection of anger of the local tribals to the BJD’s maladministration.