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Sharmili Mallick

Kalahandi/Jharsuguda: Hundreds of farmers blocked road at two separate places in as many districts on Monday morning during protests over the alleged delay in procurement of paddy crop in the State.

As per reports, hundreds of farmers registered at the Kalampur Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) stacked their paddy bags on the road near Pandigaon mandi and sat on protect blocking the Kalampur-Rampur route in Kalahandi district today.

The farmers alleged that even though nearly one month had passed since the procurement process began in the district, their stock is yet to be lifted, due to which they were forced to spend sleepless nights at the mandi guarding their produce.

[caption id="attachment_512310" align="aligncenter" width="750"]Farmers blocked Kalampur-Rampur road near Pandigaon mandi in Kalahandi district today Farmers blocked Kalampur-Rampur road near Pandigaon mandi in Kalahandi district today[/caption]

"Around 24,000 quintals of paddy have been kept in waiting at the mandi and until it was completely purchased by the PACS authorities, we will continue our protest," said an agitating farmer.

"We submitted a memorandum to the Tehsilader on January 23 where in we made it clear that we will resort to protests if our paddy was not procured within 24 hours. Since no action was taken to solve our demand, we sat on agitation and will continue it until our demands are fulfilled," said another farmer.

[caption id="attachment_512311" align="aligncenter" width="750"]Farmers blocked Kalampur-Rampur road near Pandigaon mandi in Kalahandi district today Farmers blocked Kalampur-Rampur road near Pandigaon mandi in Kalahandi district today[/caption]

Though the local Tehsildar went to the spot and tried to pacify the protesting farmers through talks, the later refused to call off the protest.

In a related incident, a group of farmers from Lakhanpur block in Jharsuguda district blocked the National Highway- 49 with paddy loaded tractors protesting the delay in paddy procurement due to token-related issues.

Due to some faults during the registration process, as many as 172 farmers belonging to the Attabira Cooperative Society could not receive the tokens for sale at the mandi. The farmers said though they had lodged complaints with the district administration, no steps were taken to resolve the matter which led to the unrest among them.

[caption id="attachment_512309" align="aligncenter" width="750"]A group of farmers from Lakhanpur block in Jharsuguda district blocked NH- 49 today A group of farmers from Lakhanpur block in Jharsuguda district blocked NH- 49 today[/caption]

Hundreds of vehicles were left stranded on both side of the highway due to the farmers' agitation, added reports.

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