Rashmi Rekha Das

Concerned over the inordinate delay by the Odisha government to open paddy procurement centres across the state, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday announced to launch Mandi Chala Abhiyan.

“Mandi Chala Abhiyan will begin on December 22 and continue till December 28. And on December 21, BJP will protest in the front of offices of 58 Sub-Collectors over irregularities in paddy procurement”, said BJP leader Prithiviraj Harichandan while holding the government responsible for paddy smuggling in Western Odisha. 

The BJP leader alleged that farmers belonging to Western Odisha had to sell their produce to Chhattisgarh-based millers owing to the government’s failure to open paddy procurement centres in a timely manner.   

“Western Odisha harvests paddy 15 days before coastal Odisha. As the government delayed to procure paddy from farmers, the western belt witnessed the smuggling of paddy to Chhattisgarh. Farmers forced to sell their produce at Rs1400 MSP to Chhattisgarh-based millers” alleged the senior BJP leader. 

“Paddy procurement centres were opened after 15 days before the set deadline at Western Odisha. On the other hand, paddy procurement centres at coastal districts are yet to be opened. As per the state government’s decision, paddy procurement centres in coastal Odisha will be opened after a month. Paddy procurement centres are supposed to be opened on December 1. The government, meanwhile, has informed cooperative societies to open procurement centres on December 30”, said Harichandan at a press meet.

He went on to add: “You must have heard the phrase ‘Justice delayed is Justice Denied’ which means if justice is not carried out at right time then even if it is carried out later it is not real justice. Similarly, there is no meaning of opening paddy procurement centres if not opened timely.”

Alleging the government’s favouritism towards mill owners, Harichandan maintained “Farmers work day and night throughout the year with an aim to procure paddy at the right time and eke out a living for a year. It is the moral duty of the state government to open paddy procurement centres timely. However, the government seems to have little interest to procure paddy from farmers. That exposed the state government’s nexus with mill owners.”

Meanwhile, BJP demanded to the stop central token system and open complaint corners for farmers to register their queries related to MSP at every block. 

“As per previous announcement, the government should provide Rs 100 bonus to farmers.  Also, the government should increase the time frame of paddy procurement”, he stated.

Reported by Harihar Chand, OTV