After a hiatus, the demand for district status to Padampur in Bargarh district was revived by farmers who organised a massive rally on Tuesday.
Thousands of farmers drawn from Paikamal, Rajabodasambar, Jharbandh, Gaisilet, Sohela and Bijepur raised a banner of protests under Padampur Upakahanda Rajabodasambar Krushak Sangathan, a farmer’s forum. They took out the rally through Padampur town before gathering at the yard of the local regulated marketing committee.
They clamoured for immediate implementation of the state government’s promise to carve out Padampur as a separate district. Notably, the state government had announced ahead of the last bye-election to declare Padampur a separate district.
Speaking to the media, Ajit Kumar Satpathy, legal advisor to the farmers’ association lamented, "The district headquarters is 150 km away from Padampur. Travelling such a long distance costs people their time and money. Farmers and people have long been demanding district status for Padampur. We want the government to fulfil its promise by December 2023.”
The agitating farmers warned that in case the government fails to act on its promise by December, Padampur would be written on the signboards and plaques of all government offices and institutions on January 1, 2024.
They have also raised 13 other demands including steps to end long and frequent power cuts, input subsidy disbursal to farmers, clearance of insurance claims and drought assistance for 2021 and immediate opening of mandis.
Farmer leader Ramesh Mohapatra alleged that farmers are not getting fair prices for their farm produce and minor forest produce. “We also appeal to the government to sort out the issues as soon as possible,” he added.
No comments have been received from the concerned authorities.