Dilip Kumar

Politics over the alleged mismanagement in paddy procurement heated up with protest and counter-protest staged by BJD and BJP in Odisha on Tuesday.

BJD activists staged protests in front of FCI godowns across the State demanding the implementation of Swaminathan Committee recommendations while BJP countered the move by terming it as a ploy to deflect attention from the core issue of non-procurement of paddy from distressed farmers.

Hitting back at the ruling party in the State, the BJP Krushak Morcha president Pradeep Purohit today said that farmers in the State are ups in arms over Mandi mismanagement.

"As resentment is brewing among farmers, the BJD has adopted an escapist policy by staging dharna in front of the FCI offices,” the party said at a press meet.

BJP further maintained that the CAG report has confirmed irregularities in paddy procurement in Odisha. 

BJP alleged that Odisha Government siphons off Rs 500 crore from farmers in connivance with the millers every year. Tokens issued to the farmers lapsed many times only due to the undue interference of millers, in Mandi affairs, who are procuring paddy, the BJP charged.

BJD activists staged protests today across the State demanding the implementation of Swaminathan Committee recommendations.

BJD alleged that the saffron party is misleading the farmers by spreading false information on paddy procurement. The Swaminathan Committee had recommended the Centre to pay 1.5 times of the production cost of paddy to the farmers. If the recommendations are implemented, the cost of the paddy per quintal will increase to Rs 2,930, the BJD had said earlier.

"We are protesting the step-motherly attitude of the center. We have 7 lakh metric tonne of rice with us which is yet to be procured,” said Debes Acharya, BJD MLA.