BHUBANESWAR: The BJP on Saturday announced a mega rally at Sambalpur on January 21 to protest irregularities in paddy procurement and demand withdrawal of the token system.
Leader of Opposition Pradipta Naik made this announcement after a meeting with BJP MLAs, district unit presidents and party’s Kishan Morcha leaders from western Odisha.
“We demand immediate withdrawal of the online token system as this is root cause of all problems. The common complaint of the farmers is token issued to them lapsed as mandis (paddy procurement centres) were not lifting their paddy on due date,” Naik said.
Inordinate delay in procurement has led to distress sale. Though procurement of paddy below MSP is a crime, the district administrations are not taking action against the unscrupulous traders. It seems that the administration is hand in glove with millers and private traders, he said.
“The government had promised that criminal cases will be filed if paddy is procured below the MSP at any place. However, no such action have been taken anywhere so far,” Naik said. Alleging rampant corruption at mandi level, Naik said all farmers bringing their produce for sale are paid less than the actual cost.
Each farmer has to forgo the cost for at least 4-5 kg per bag of paddy which is called ‘Katni Chatni’ in local language. Farmers are unable to sell their total produce due to low yield targets fixed by the government for irrigated and non-irrigated land which are in the order of 19 quintal and 13 quintal per acre, he added.
“What the farmers will do with their surplus paddy and whom to sell. There is an urgent need to revisit the foodgrain policy under the decentralised procurement,” Naik said. It is the Centre which is footing the bill for foodgrains procured under MSP that comes to nearly Rs 18,000 crore.
The State has no right to deprive farmers of selling their produce, he added. Naik said MLAs, MPs and farmers from five parliamentary constituencies will participate in the protest rally near RDC office, Sambalpur to voice their demands.