Mrunal Manmay Dash

A 12-hour bandh has been called by farmers and youths of Tushura and Gudbhela blocks of Bolangir on Saturday protesting 'katni chhatni' by millers in mandis.

The dawn to dusk bandh is called by Tushura Youth Action Committee and Gudbhela farmers Association alleging huge corruption in mandis.

They alleged that repeated requests and complaints to the authorities about katni chatni by the millers have fallen on deaf ears. Inordinate delay by the millers to lift their paddy has reportedly caused their tokens to lapse. That is why they are forced to resort to the bandh.

"Mandis in other places have already been opened. Some mandis in December and some have opened in November. But here we are yet to sell our crop to millers. Millers in almost all the mandis of Gudbhela block are resorting to katni chatni to the tunes of 5-8kg per quintal," said Lisan Pradhan, president of Youth Action Committee.

While all the government and private organisations have been shut down today, protesters have left the emergency services out of the purview of the bandh.

Earlier on Tuesday, Congress launched a dawn-to-dusk bandh over alleged paddy procurement irregularities in mandis in Deogarh.

Similarly, the BJP on January 4 launched a 12-hour bandh in Kalahandi district over several issues related to farmers.

The saffron party demanded relief from ‘katni chatni’ by millers during paddy procurement as well as distress sale of cotton, lowering of electricity tariff, and removal of country liquor manufacturing units in the district.