Bhubaneswar: Hundreds of farmers and members of Naba Nirman Krushaka Sangathan (NNKS) were arrested from various places in the City Wednesday as they tried to hit the streets of Bhubaneswar to pressurise the government to fulfil their long-standing demands of price, pension and prestige.
NNKS national convenor Akshay Kumar said they would go on an indefinite strike if the government fails to announce provisions in the state budget for the farmers and will also block trains and buses and events in the City.
Hitting out at the KALIA scheme of the state government, Kumar said, “It is a sugar-coated pill for the farmers. The farmer community will teach the government a bitter lesson in the coming elections if it does not mend its ways and fulfil the farmers’ demands at the earliest.”
Police, who had blocked the entry of NNKS activists to Bhubaneswar to foil their mega convention three months ago, resorted to the same tactics Wednesday and arrested more than 300 farmers.
They were detained at Tamando and Hanspal on the outskirts of the City besides Vani Vihar, Master Canteen and the railway station. Apart from Bhubaneswar, police also detained the NNKS activists at Remuna in Balasore and at the Cuttack railway station.
Hundreds of farmers who were stopped at Bhubaneswar railway station from joining the mega farmers’ convention staged a dharna and protested against the police action. They were also seen taken to a police van from Lower PMG where they had protested earlier.
Kumar alleged that the government is trying to foil the mega rally and farmers’ convention in Bhubaneswar. He said several farmers who are on way to join the rally are being detained and stopped by police at various places.
Bhubaneswar DCP Anup Kumar Sahoo said, “We detained the farmers as they tried to block the National Highway.”
With the budget session of Odisha Assembly underway, the farmers have been pressing for inclusion of their demands in the budget.
They are demanding a security allowance of Rs 5,000 per month for nearly 36 lakh farmers of the state with an annual budget allocation of Rs 21,600 crore.
The farmers’ agitation comes at a time when the government is promoting the farmer-friendly scheme KALIA at every place and the ruling BJD is planning to make it as its poll plank. The ruling party says it’s hundred percent successful in giving farmers satisfaction.