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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Ahead of mega farmers’ convention in Bhubaneswar, former Kendrapara MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda today extended support to the agitation launched by farmers under the aegis of Naba Nirman Krushak Sangathan (NNKS) demanding price, prestige and pension.

Joining the farmers’ mega rally near Phulnakhara-Pahala road, Panda condemned the attempts being made by Odisha government to throttle the voices of farmers.

The statement comes in the wake of the imposition of section 144 near Tamando by police to prevent farmer outfits to enter Bhubaneswar ahead of their proposed convention.

“Thousands of farmers from across the State are staging a peaceful agitation and the way attempts are being made by the administration to obstruct them is not justified. Besides, various goonda vahinis are also creating  nuisance and there is a possibility of reaction the way farmers are being provoked,” said Panda while appealing Odisha government not to obstruct the farmers in staging peaceful agitation as their demands are genuine.

Panda also asserted that it is the responsibility of both Odisha government and the Centre to resolve the problems of the farmers. However, so far various promises made to the farmers are yet to be fulfilled.

“Be it the issue of setting up cold storage or providing irrigation facilities in all block level, such promises are yet to be fulfilled. On one hand, the Odisha government is gearing up for the Make in Odisha Conclave and on other industrial houses are being harassed in the State,” said Panda.

Convenor of NNKS Akhaya Kumar said, “We have given time to the government to take concrete steps to address our issues by tomorrow and if that does not happen, we will intensify our ‘satygraha’ agitation after 11 am."

Different political parties have also lent support to the farmers' agitation. The BJP has targeted Odisha government for its failure to address the grievances of the farmers in the State.

“We support the farmers’ agitation. Already PM Narendra Modi has taken a lot of measures to double the farmers’income in the country. But is unfortunate that due to wrong policies and ‘PC’ culture of Odisha government, the farmers are deprived of various welfare schemes,” said BJP leader Samir Mohanty.

BJD spokesperson Sameer Dash, on the other hand, claimed that the farmers across the country are facing problems.

“Six months back, the Supreme Court had asked Centre to submit an affidavit on what can be done to improve the condition of farmers as part of the uniform policy in the country. But the Centre is dilly-dallying the matter and our party will definitely cooperate whatever decision is taken on farmers’ issue,” said Dash.

Congress leader and former MP Pradip Majhi also joined a farmer rally in his constituency and warned the state government to immediately address the issues of the farmers.

Meanwhile, keeping in view of possible law and order situation and traffic problems, the Commissionerate Police has taken adequate steps.

"We have deployed 25 platoons of police force to maintain peace and ensure that law and order situation does not arise due to their agitation. The farmer outfits have also been directed not to block or create disturbance on national highways or city roads," Bhubaneswar DCP Anup Sahu said.

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