BHUBANESWAR: The standoff between the State government and Opposition over demand for an urgent discussion on farmers’ problems and irregularities in procurement of paddy was resolved with Speaker of Odisha Assembly SN Patro fixing Monday for a two-hour debate on the issue.
“It has been decided to hold a two-hour discussion on farmers’ issues immediately after the question hour. There will be no other business except question hour and a debate on farmers problems,” Patro told reporters after an all-party meeting.
As the House assembled for the day, Opposition BJP and Congress members rushed to the well demanding a commitment from the government that all paddy that will be brought to the mandis will be procured in next seven days.
The Opposition continued to disrupt the proceedings for the third consecutive day demanding discussion on mandi mismanagement leading to repeated adjournments of the House.
They did not budge even after Minister for Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Ranendra Pratap Swain assured the House that paddy of all registered farmers will be purchased. After repeated adjournments, the Speaker convened the all-party meeting in the evening to resolve the impasse.
In a statement, Swain informed the House amid ruckus that the State has so far procured 21 per cent more paddy as on February 19 against the corresponding period last year. He said 55.03 lakh tonne of paddy has been procured against 45.61 lakh tonne last year.
“I assured the House that paddy brought to the mandis by all genuine token holders will be purchased by the government. Since online token issued to registered farmers is valid for a month, those who failed to sell their stock in the appointed date can dispose of any time before the token is lapsed,” he said.
The government has already transferred Rs 10,281 crore to the bank accounts of the farmers, he added.
The Minister’s assurance to buy paddy from genuine registered farmers till March 31, 2021 did not cut much ice with the Opposition members. Leader of Opposition Pradipta Naik and his party MLAs tore copies of the written statement of the Minister and threw it to the Speaker’s podium.
55.03 lakh tonne procured so far
45.61 lakh tonne purchased last year
Rs 10,281 crore transferred to bank accounts of farmers