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Opposition Raise Farmers’ Voice

Bhubaneswar: Opposition BJP and Congress on Tuesday announced to launch agitation in the State over various demands of farmers.

BJP threatened to launch protests across the state in the coming days if the BJD Government failed to provide compensation to farmers within 15 days for the loss they suffered due to the recent unseasonal rain.

In a memorandum submitted to the Governor Raghubar Das, a BJP delegation led by party’s Krushak Morcha Maheshwar Sahu demanded the State Government to waive agricultural loan, electricity duty, provide free seeds, fertiliser and pesticide to farmers and assistance to take up alternative crop cultivation.

The income of the farmers in the State is the lowest in the country due to anti-farmers policy of the State Government during its 23 years rule, alleged Shri Sahu.

The farmers have suffered a lot due to weak agricultural infrastructure. The government also failed to provide irrigation facilities and cold storage to the farmers, the BJP leader said.

Similarly, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Sarat Pattanayak and Congress Kisan Cell Chairman Amiya Patnaik in a joint press conference announced the“ Mandi Chal “ movement in all blocks in the State for one month.

The Pradesh Kisan Congress will organize protests across the State from December 13 to January 13 over fulfillment of several demands of farmers including hike in paddy MSP to Rs 2930 per quintal and waiver of crop loan, the Congress leaders said.

Kissan Cell Chairman Amiya Patnaik said a massive farmers convention will be organised at Sonepur on Wednesday and in the first phase the ‘Mandi Chal’ movement will start from Sonepur in Western Odisha to protect the interest of the farmers. The Mandi chal campaign which will start on Wednesday will continue till January 13, he said.

The Congress demanded the government to provide a compensation of Rs 25,000 per acre to farmers for the crop loss in the unseasonal rain triggered by a low pressure and to waive the crop loan of the farmers.

Shri Pattanayak said though the government has been demanding since long to hike the MSP of paddy to Rs 2930 per quintal, the BJP led Government at the Centre has not yet accepted it.

He demanded the Government to procure paddy from farmers at Rs 2930 per quintal as decided by it earlier.

The Congress leaders alleged that the farmers are incurring a loss of around Rs 600 per quintal as the government has fixed the MSP of paddy Rs 2183 per quintal against the expenses of around Rs 2700 per quintal, said the OPCC chief.

The Government should give Rs 600 as bonus to the farmers per quintal, procure all paddy discolored due to unseasonal rain and stop Katni Chhatni. During the Mandi Chal campaign, the Congress activists will try to ensure that the farmers get justice and not face any problem while selling their paddy at the Mandi.

Shri Pattanayak said the student wing activists of Congress will hold agitation in all colleges and universities in protest of setting up selfie points in the institutes with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the background.

National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), the students’ wing of the Congress, will organize the agitation from December 20 to January 20, he said.  

As the 2024 general elections inch closer, the union government has asked all colleges and universities to set up selfie points with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the background. Following the suit, the BJD government in Odisha has directed the institutes to open selfi points in the campuses with pictures of CM Naveen Patnaik, he said.   

During last elections, the BJP had promised to provide employment to 2 crore youths every year while the BJD had announced to provide jobs to 2 lakh youths a year. However, both the governments have failed to fulfil their promises, the Congress leader said.

NSUI State President Yashir Nawaz said, “During the agitation, we will visit the colleges and universities and put up the posters of Mahatma Gandhi and Gopabandhu Das in place of Modi and Naveen Patnaik.”