Pradeep Pattanayak

In a bid to stave off farmers’ proposed massive rally in Bhubaneswar, the police on Tuesday detained thousands of farmers under the banner of Navnirman Krushak Sangathan, who were marching towards the State Capital, at Balianta weekly market ground on the outskirts of the Capital city on Tuesday. 

According to sources, thousands of farmers including women, shouting slogans against the government took out a rally and were on their way to Bhubaneswar to gherao Odisha Assembly to press for their demands of price, prestige and pension. 

But they were detained at the Balianta weekly market ground. While heavy police deployment was made at the ground, barricades were put up at important entry points like High-Tech square and Palasuni Square to check farmers from entering into Bhubaneswar. 

The agitating farmers said no one including the government cannot stop them from raising their voices for price, prestige and pension.

“We are demanding a budget provision of Rs 21,600 crore towards farmer pension of Rs 5,000 per month to 36 lakh farmers. The Chief Minister should make his stand regarding our demand clear,” said convener of Navnirman Krushak Sangathan Akshay Kumar. 

In 2018, a state-wide protest was organised from October 29 to November 5. Then the government issued a notification assuring the farmers to resolve their demands including pension. But the government failed to keep its word. 

Protesting this, the second mega protest was to be held on May 26, 2020. But it had to be postponed due to the outbreak of Covid-19.