Bhubaneswar: The Odisha unit of BJP today turned the heat on the ruling-BJD by organising a huge farmer agitation to protest improper functioning of mandis and irregularities in paddy procurement. Saffron party members along with thousands of farmers holding placards, ploughs and also carrying paddy packets on trucks took out a rally to gherao the State Secretariat.
The agitators staged a dharna at lower PMG road and later marched towards the Secretariat. However, a scuffle broke out after police tried to prevent the agitators.
Senior BJP leader Pratap Sarangi said, “The Naveen-led government is anti-farmer and is responsible for all the problems affecting the farmers of the State. It is only concerned with providing welfare and benefits to its own party workers through the KALIA scheme. As farmers are forced to avail loans, they commit suicide after being unable to pay higher rates of interest.”
Convenor of farmer outfit Naba Nirmaan Krushak Sangathan, Akshaya Kumar also came down heavily on the State government and said, “BJD is blaming the Centre, but during the Rajya Sabha deputy chairman election, it extended its support without hesitation. The State government could have bargained for a hike in MSP to Rs 2,930 per quintal before blindly pledging its support. But since the State government does not care about farmers, it did not do anything then. Moreover, the government’s KALIA scheme is also a gimmick to divert the attention from the demands of price, pension and prestige.”