KORAPUT: THE State Government should enhance the quantity of paddy to be procured from mandis in the larger interest of farmers, said Prasad Harichandan, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president.
Speaking at a meeting here on Tuesday, Harichandan said since the farmers produced bumper crop across undivided Koraput, the Government should honour their hard work by procuring 25 quintals per acre.
The minimum support price for paddy should also be increased to save farmers from distress sale, he added. The OPCC chief, who made a stopover here on way to Rayagada from Malkangiri district, criticised the Chief Minister on the method of launching different projects from one place and said people are aware of the fate of thousands of projects. People would give the right response in the forthcoming Panchayat elections, he added.
Harichandan also criticised the CM for avoiding Malkangiri district where more than 100 children died of Japanese Encephalitis. The CM preferred to visit Koraput and Nabarangpur but skipped Malkangiri, which does not reflect the true leadership, he said. The development process of Central University of Orissa (CUO) has slowed down drastically as this was inaugurated during the UPA regime, he said and criticised the BJD and NDA governments for lack of focus on the tribal belts.
On the other hand, the State Government had set a target to start the academic session of Medical College at Koraput in 2017 but that looks a distant dream now as neither the State nor the Centre are concerned about the work progress, he alleged.
Meanwhile, dissidence in the party came to the fore with MLAs Tara Prasad Bahinipati, Kailash Chandra Kulesika, Krushna Chandra Sagaria and Chandra Sekhar Majhi skipping the meet. The MLAs took the plea of Assembly session for not making it to the meeting, which is considered crucial in the run-up to the Panchayat elections.
Harichandan said, “Congress is a democratic party and every leader has a right to give his opinion and all are functioning under one umbrella. It is not like the BJD where the leaders have no voice and all fear their autocratic ruler.”
Harichandan was accompanied by former Union minister Srikant Jena, DCC president Meenakshi Bahinipati, Congress block chairperson and Koraput Municipality Chairman Bhagban Bahinipati.