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Paddy procurement delay rocks Assembly

Even as pandemonium prevailed in the State Assembly over the issue of delay in paddy procurement in western Odisha, Congress and BJD members expressed concern over various problems being faced by farmers in the State.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the Centre’s non-response to the Assembly Committee on the low amount of minimum support price (MSP) being paid to peasants, the members demanded that the Centre raise the MSP to Rs 2,930 as per unanimous resolution passed in the House a few years back.

As the House met,  Congress MLAs, including Suresh Routray, Santosh Singh Saluja and Tara Prasad Bahinipati, rushed to the Well of the House and shouted anti-Government slogans alleging that farmers of western Odisha have suffered a lot and taken to the streets as the Government has not yet procured paddy from them.

They alleged that though the paddy procurement was supposed to begin on November 15, it was yet to take off due to the online token system, which was recently introduced by the Government.

Unable to run the proceedings, Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro adjourned the House at 10.34 am till 3 pm.

During afternoon hours, Congress Legislature Party Leader Narasingha Mishra alleged that thousands of

quintals of paddy have been damaged in western Odisha due to non-procurement from farmers.

“Farmers have already harvest paddy and they have no space to store them. Mandis are not taking paddy from them. They have been bound to sell them to millers and local traders at lesser prices than the MSP. The ruling party and the miller are hand in glove to get benefit out of distress sale of paddy,” alleged Mishra.

He too criticised the Union Government for not raising the MSP of paddy up to Rs 2,930 as per the unanimous resolution passed in the Assembly in recent years.

Santosh Singh Saluja, Suresh Routray and Tara Prasad Bahinipati too severely criticised both the Union and State Governments for the sufferings of the farmers.

The Opposition members demanded that the Government procure paddy from all farmers and provide Rs 500 as bonus to farmers per quintal of paddy over the MSP.

BJD members Prafulla Samal and Anant Das slammed the Centre for not considering the Assembly Committee’s proposal for increasing MSP as per the unanimous resolution. In his ruling, the Speaker said the Government, if it wishes, can come out with a statement in the House regarding procurement of paddy.

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