At a time when the Odisha government has been claiming that paddy farmers are not facing distress sale, the farmers during their interaction with the Governor in Sambalpur district left the state government completely unmasked.
During his Sambalpur visit, Governor Raghubar Das on Monday met farmers at Parmanpur village. For the first time, they found any Governor amidst them and hence they didn’t let the opportunity slip.
During their interaction with the Governor, they narrated several issues. While some pointed out the irregularities at paddy procurement centres (mandis), some others narrated how distressed sale, the presence of middlemen and ‘katni chhatni’ are causing troubles for them.
“In my knowledge, for the first time in the past 20 to 22 years, a Governor interacted with the farmers. After listening to the farmers’ problems, he assured that he would look into them,” said Chandrasekhar Panda, a farmer.
The Governor also gave them a patient hearing and promised them solutions.
“I assure you that I will try to solve your problems, be it related to the centre or to the state,” said Governor Das while addressing the gathering.
At the same time, the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cornered the BJD-ruled dispensation, accusing it of ignoring the problems of farmers.
“There are massive irregularities at the mandis. Farmers are suffering from ‘’katni chhatni’. Millers are looting the farmers. If the Minister wants to do something for the farmers in a true sense, he should show it by arresting a miller resorting to ‘katni chhatni’,” said BJP leader, Pradeep Purohit.
When contacted, Cooperation Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said, “The procurement of paddy is going on smoothly. If any complaint is received, appropriate steps will be taken.”
Regarding the presence of middlemen of other states in Odisha, the Minister said, “Paralakhemundi, Berhampur and Gajapati are sharing borders with neighbouring states like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Our departmental officers are keeping a watch on the seal points to scuttle any attempt of middlemen from other sides to enter Odisha.”