Ramakanta Biswas

Hundreds of farmers in Odisha took to streets on Thursday and threw paddy on the roads as mark of the protests against katni chatni in paddy procurement raged through several districts.

Massive protests were seen by aggrieved farmers in Khordha, Jagatsinghpur, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Keonjhar districts. They spilled paddy on the roads and placed sacks of paddy on the road to protest against the illegal practice in the paddy procurement. 

In Jagatsinghpur, farmers poured paddy in front of the collector’s office in protest against katni chatni. Similar protest was also seen in Jajpur district as farmers put paddy sacks at the residential office of the collector.

Moreover, the farmers threw paddy in front of the collectorates in Keonjhar and Bhadrak

The protesting farmers alleged that katni chatni at mandis has broken their financial backbone. They added that the illegal practice has come as a double whammy for them as they are already reeling under the token problem.

The farmers have also demanded an increase in minimum support price (MSP) and alleged indifference of the government towards the issue.

“Farmers are compelled for distress sale for a long time. They are unable to meet the production cost. In March 2017, it was unanimously proposed in the Odisha Assembly that farmers should be given Rs 2950 per quintal of paddy in view of expenditure of Rs 2344 per quintal. Neither we got the MSP, nor the bonus. Farmers are being exploited by katni chatni. The plight of farmers is increasing, their children are forced to become migrant labourer,” alleged a protesting farmer in Jagatsinghpur.

Bilasini Mahanta, a woman farmer from Keonjhar said, “Though we take fresh paddy to the mandi, 5-7 kg per quintal is deducted by the authorities. Therefore, we spilled our paddy in front of collector’s so that people can know how the government is exploiting the farmers.”

(Reported by Sasank Sekhar Panda, Sanjib Nayak, Partha Sarathi Nayak, OTV )