Bhubaneswar: With the drastic reduction of budgetary provision for procurement of paddy during 2023-24, Governing Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Tuesday urged Centre to ensure MSP for paddy to be produced by Odisha farmers during the upcoming Kharif and Rabi seasons.
Addressing a press meet here today, BJD Senior Vice President and former Minister Prasanna Acharya said that Centre has done a huge reduction of Rs. 20,000 crores in paddy procurement in the Union Budget this year.
“Forget about Swaminathan Commission report recommendations implementation, this huge slashing by Rs. 20,000 crores will virtually ensure that the farmers are unable to even get their MSP and paddy procurement will drastically go down,” Shri Acharya said.
This will severely affect the farmers of Odisha, especially from Western Odisha and deeply impact their livelihood, he said.
The senior BJD leader from Western Odisha further said the reduction of budget shows that the Centre won’t increase the MSP therefore to 1.5 times. The demand of the Odisha farmers as passed by the Assembly unanimously to increase MSP of paddy per quintal to Rs. 2930 will again be rejected by the Centre, causing angst and pain to lakhs of farmers of Odisha, Acharya added.
Stating that the Centre has also slashed the foodgrain procurement target of Odisha, he said, from 18 lakh metric ton (MT) rice which used to be lifted from Odisha by Food Corporation of India (FCI) annually, now for 2022-23 the Centre has reduced it 80 percent to only 4 lakh MT.
“Bargarh district of Odisha alone produces 4 lakh MT of rice, what will happen to the rest 29 districts of Odisha? Where will the farmers of those 29 districts sell their paddy?,” he questioned.
The Centre is completely silent about it. Western Odisha farmers will suffer the most due to this injustice by the Centre, the BJD leader said.
Questioning what the five BJP MPs of western Odisha are doing, Acharya said the BJP MPs were elected by the people of western Odisha in 2019 but they have never said one word in favour of the farmers of western Odisha for paddy procurement.
“How will they even face the same voters in 2024 who had trusted them in 2019? Why are the Central Ministers from Odisha silent at the Centre about issues relating to paddy procurement and not speaking up in the interest of the farmers of western Odisha? Will the farmers and voters of western Odisha trust the BJP’s Central Ministers from Odisha and BJP MPs from Western Odisha in future, more so seeing their silence?” he asked the BJP leaders from Odisha.
The BJD has demanded that every single surplus food-grain must be lifted from Odisha through paddy procurement process by the Centre in the interests of farmers of mainly Western Odisha. The farmers of Odisha must not be deprived of their MSP at any cost by Centre, said the ex-MP.