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Pradeep Singh

Bhubaneswar: Amid the ongoing protest by the farmers in western Odisha, Supplies Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain today blatantly said that the State government will not withdraw the token system in paddy procurement irrespective of the farmers' agitation.

'Ae system thila, rahichi aau rahiba' (this system was, is and will be there) and there is no problem in it, said Swain.

He further said, "I request all the farmers to understand that the new system has been introduced to bring more transparency and it will also help them get the right price of their paddy. If they (farmers) want any improvement in the system (token system), the government is always ready to accept it."

"The token system was also there earlier, but it was not centralised. The government should understand how a token generated from Bhubaneswar will help a farmer. Before introducing the new system they should have spoken to farmers," said farmer leader, Ashok Pradhan.

"By sitting in Bhubaneswar, how can they know what is the total production of a farmer and whether a farmer's paddy is ready for sale or not? How can such tokens be generated then? Pradhan questioned.

Farmers continue to protest in western Odisha and have threatened to hit the streets and go on an indefinite strike if the token system is not withdrawn.

Besides, the farmers said that if the token system is not replaced by P-PAS (Paddy Procurement Automation System), they will not allow the sale of paddy at the mandis.

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