Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal Tuesday said measures must be taken by the Centre to ensure that the farmers of Odisha get the proper minimum support price for their agricultural produces.
This was demanded by BJD vice-president Prasanna Acharya while addressing a press conference at Bargarh. He alleged that the BJP-led Central government has reduced Rs 20,000 crore in paddy procurement in the recent budget.
“The government has clearly forgotten about Swaminathan Commission recommendations. This slashing of Rs 20,000 crore in the budget, will virtually ensure that the farmers are unable to even get their MSP and paddy procurement will drastically go down,” Acharya said.
Stating that the reduction of funds for procurement will severely affect the farmers of Odisha, especially from the Western region, Acharya said this will also deeply impact their livelihood. Now, with reduced budgetary allocation for procurement, the Centre cannot increase the MSP.
“We demand the farmers should get Rs 2,930 as MSP for one quintal of paddy as per a resolution passed in the Odisha Assembly,” he said.
This apart, the BJD leader said that the Centre has also slashed the food grain procurement target of Odisha. From 18 lakh metric tonnes (MT) of rice which used to be lifted from Odisha by Food Corporation of India (FCI) annually, now for 2022-23 the Centre has reduced it by 80 per cent to only 4 lakh MT, Acharya said.
Noting that Bargarh district of Odisha alone produces 4 lakh MT of rice, Acharya asked what will happen to the remaining 29 districts of Odisha? “Where will the farmers of those 29 districts sell their paddy?”, he asked, adding that the Centre is completely silent about it.
He alleged that the western Odisha farmers will be the worst sufferers in the process due to this injustice by the Centre.
The BJD leader also raised questions about the silence of BJP MPs and central ministers. “We demand that every single surplus foodgrain must be lifted from Odisha through paddy procurement by the Centre in the interests of farmers of mainly Western Odisha and the farmers of Odisha must not be deprived of their MSP at any cost by the Centre”, Acharya said.
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