Bhubaneswar: The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha will launch massive protest rallies across the state opposing the Centre’s decision to reduce the allocation on paddy procurement and closure of PMGKAY programme. The protests will be held February 14 to February 16.
BJD MLA Arun Kumar Sahoo said at a press conference here Monday that with reduction of funds by Rs 20,000 crore in Centre’s Budget for 2023-24, lakhs of farmers especially in western Odisha will be severely affected. Sahoo said that earlier that the Centre used to procure 18 lakh MT rice from Odisha. Now it has been reduced to 4 lakh MT. He said Bargarh district alone produces 4 lakh MT of paddy. So the condition of the farmers in 29 other districts will be precarious and they will suffer huge financial losses.
Sahoo also criticised the Centre’s decision to close the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY). Under this programme, the Centre was providing additional five kilograms of free rice. With closure of the scheme, the paddy procurement will drastically go down and the farmers will be deprived of getting the MSP.
“For the interest of lakhs of farmers who will be affected due to Centre’s revised paddy procurement policy, the BJD will stage a protest February 14 in front of the Raj Bhawan demanding the Centre to procure all food grains from Odisha,” Sahoo told reporters.
“If the demand is not met within 15 days, the party will protest across the state against Central negligence towards farmers of Odisha,” the BJD leader added.
Sahoo also stated that a BJD delegation will meet Tuesday Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal and submit a memorandum pressing their demands.
Sahoo also informed that the BJD will organise mass protests at each Gram Panchayat headquarters in all the 30 districts Wednesday. The next day BJD will demonstrate in front of each collectorate and block office.
The party will also oppose the closure of PMGKAY that will affect 3.25 crore population as well as lakhs of farmers in Odisha, Sahoo informed.