BJP toes Congress line in Odisha

Announcing this at a media conference here, State BJP president Basant Panda raised the issue of paddy procurement among farmers and the state government's lack of attention towards it.

Published: 19th December 2018 07:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th December 2018 07:34 AM   |  A+A-

BJP Odisha , Basant Kumar Panda

BJP Odisha President Basant Kumar Panda at an event. (Photo| Twitter)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: With the Opposition demand for farm loan waiver reaching a crescendo and the State Government not buying the idea, the State BJP on Tuesday announced to write off agricultural loans of the farmers if the party is voted to power in 2019 Assembly elections.

The saffron party has taken an aggressive stand on the farm debt write-off issue more particularly after the reversal of its fortune in the recent Assembly elections in three Hindi heartland States of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Announcing this at a media conference here, State BJP president Basant Panda said his party would waive all farm loans and provide interest-free loans to the farmers if it comes to power. The BJP will gherao the State Secretariat on January 8 to press their demand for farm loan waiver. Earlier, Union Ministers from the State Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan had made similar promises.

Highlighting the difficulties faced by the farmers at ‘mandis’ (market yards) during paddy procurement, Panda said the party has decided to launch ‘Mandi Chala Abhiyan’ from December 19 to January 7, 2019. Even as the State Government claimed to have opened 4,381 mandis for paddy procurement, Panda said many of those are yet to function. Besides, the number of mandis is inadequate and farmers have to wait for long to dispose of their stock.

Complaining that farmers are not getting minimum support price of Rs 1750 per quintal of common variety of paddy as announced by the Centre, Panda said millers’ agents are ruling the roost while Government officials are looking the other way.

Alleging unholy nexus between the State Government and the millers, the BJP chief said while the farmers are not being paid the MSP, they are facing price cut for 4-5 kgs of paddy in each packet.The BJP workers will visit each mandi to protest these irregularities and delay in paddy procurement. They will also highlight the State Government’s failure in providing bonus of `100 per quintal.

The ruling BJD, which had given a call for gherao of Parliament in New Delhi on January 8 demanding hike in paddy MSP and implementation of Swaminathan Committee report, said the BJP will not succeed in its design to divert the attention of the people by organising a rally in the State Capital on the same day.
In his response, Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathi said the BJP is only shedding crocodile tears. “You just wait and watch what the BJD is going to do in a couple of days,” he said hinting that the State Government will make a big announcement.


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