BHUBANESWAR: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) will raise the issues of Mahanadi tribunal, Polavaram project, hike in minimum support price (MSP) of paddy during the second phase of budget session of Parliament beginning March 5. Issues related to Odisha’s interest were discussed at the meeting of the BJD Parliamentary Party presided by Chief Minister and party president Naveen Patnaik at Naveen Nivas here on Saturday. BJD members of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha attended the meeting.
It was decided that the BJD MPs will demand deployment of more Central forces in Odisha to tackle increasing Maoist activities in the State. Besides, the Chief Minister asked the MPs to meet the Railway Minister to pursue demands of Odisha relating to railway projects, Prasanna Acharya, BJD Rajya Sabha member said. The meeting decided that BJD MPs will raise Odisha’s demand to bring the State under one railway zone as well as expedite various railway projects in the State. “We will demand to expedite the process of setting up Mahanadi Tribunal to resolve the river water dispute with Chhattisgarh,” BJD Parliamentary party spokesman and Lok Sabha member Kalikesh Singhdeo said.
Though constitution of the tribunal on Mahanadi river water dispute has been announced by the Centre, the process is yet to start. This apart, the BJD MPs will put pressure on the Centre to stop construction of Polavaram project, he said. The BJD MPs will also raise the State’s demand to raise the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy to `2,930 per quintal from the existing price of `1,550 per quintal.
Though it was announced by the Centre in the 2019 budget that the MSP will be raised by one and a half times of the production cost, no follow up action has been taken in this regard so far. The BJD would also raise Odisha’s long-standing demand to accord special category status to the State, he said and added that assistance of other States will be sought but BJD will keep maintaining equidistance from the UPA and the NDA.