SAMBALPUR: Protesting the linking of Aadhaar number to bank accounts for procurement of paddy in the ensuing kharif marketing season, thousands of farmers under the banner of Paschim Odisha Krushak Sangathan Samanwaya Samiti (POKSSS) staged a demonstration in front of the office of Revenue Divisional Commissioner (North) here on Thursday.
Their other demands include disbursal of drought assistance of `100 per quintal of paddy, input subsidy, insurance claims against crop loss and settlement of water conflict over river Mahanadi.
The protestors locked the entrance gate of the RDC office for about 15 minutes and threatened to lock the offices of Revenue Inspectors and Collectors across Western Odisha phase-wise in the coming days if the State Government fails to take a decision on their demands during the ongoing Assembly session.
Addressing the gathering, POKSSS convener Ashok Pradhan said the State Government had assured payment of drought assistance of `100 per quintal of paddy. However, it is silent over payment of drought assistance. Besides, a large number of farmers are yet to get input subsidy and insurance claims against crop loss during the last kharif season, he added.
POKSSS co-convener Lingaraj urged the Government to stop diverting water from river Mahanadi and Hirakud Dam Reservoir to industries as it would adversely affect irrigation. Instead of diverting water to industries, the Government should initiate steps for strengthening irrigation.
The POKSSS also declared that the farmers would ask their elected representatives about the steps taken by them to pressurise the State Government on payment of drought assistance and input subsidy during the ongoing Assembly session in case no decision is taken by the Government.
Moreover, the farmers’ body has resolved to stage agitation near Hirakud Dam Reservoir at Pitapali area in Sambalpur on November 6 over Mahanadi water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
Earlier on August 29, the farmers, under the banner of POKSSS, had staged demonstration in front of collectorates across the region over the demands.