Bhubaneswar: Alleging gross irregularities in paddy procurement at different Mandis in the State, the Odisha BJP gheraoed the office of the State Civil Supplies Corporation here at Unit-8 on Friday.
Hundreds of party activists under the banner of BJP Krushak Morcha staged a protest alleging government inaction against the millers who are exploiting the farmers by reducing the 8-10 kg of paddy per quintal on the pretext of moisture content and gunny bag charges.
The party alleged that farmers failed to sell their produces at Mandi due to the highhandedness of millers. Tokens issued to many farmers have lapsed, the protesters said.
Inordinate delay in the procurement has led to the piling up of sacks of paddy under open sky at different procurement centres in Western Odisha. Soaked in rain, sacks of paddy have become sprouts, the agitators alleged.
It is a common issue with the farmers that token issued to them lapsed as mandis (paddy procurement centres) were not lifting their produce on due date.
Inordinate delay in procurement has led to distress sale. BJP alleged that government officials are hand in glove with millers and private traders.
“We have been alleging gross irregularities in Mandi. Tokens are being lapsed and minimum support price is not ensured. Our allegations were confirmed later by the Central team. We have given them (supplies officials) three-day ultimatum and they should lift the paddy from the farmers at least from those who have been issued token failing which the agitation would be intensified further,” said Mukesh Mahaling, BJP MLA who was a part of the agitation.
“We will not withdraw the stir until the concerned officials assured us to resolve the issues of the farmers,” he warned.
“We want the secretary of the concerned department or any of his officials to visit us and discuss with us. We would show them the documents regarding lapse of Token. The officials must explain to us regarding actions being initiated against the unscrupulous millers who are exploiting farmers by ‘Katni Chhatni’,” said BJP Krushak Morcha President Pradeep Purohit who led the protest.
“The officials must assure us of sorting out all these issues. Then only we will consider withdrawing the stir,” Purohit added.
BJP had hit the streets many times in past over similar issues. The party had demanded withdrawal of token system which has turned a bane for the farming community.