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Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: The recent acknowledgement of various flaws in the paddy procurement by a former MP of the ruling-BJD seems to have added fuel to the ongoing protest of the farmers, sending the Odisha government into a tizzy.

Recently, former BJD MP Kalikesh Singh Deo reportedly admitted mismanagement in the paddy procurement and wrote to the concerned State minister to resolve the issues of the farmers at the earliest.

In a letter to food supplies and consumer welfare minister Ranendra Pratap Swain, the parliamentarian wrote, “During my visit to various PACS in Bolangir, I found that a number of farmers have not managed to sell their produce due to low targets being sanctioned.”

The MP requested the minister to provide an additional target of 30,000 MT to Bolangir to avoid distress sale of paddy by the farmers to middlemen at low price.

Besides, Singh Deo also pointed out technical glitches in the paddy procurement through a series of tweets.

“It seems that the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department paddy procurement website has many glitches. All nominee farmers including me are unable to do sell due to technical issues. Wonder why govt is forcing farmers to bear the inconvenience,” he wrote.

Moreover, speaking to media he said, “In Bolangir, the paddy procurement target was 60 to 65 lakh quintal last year but the target is half this year. Various problems are being seen in the paddy procurement due to lack of coordination between farmers and millers. Besides, glitches in the token system are also responsible for this to some extent.”

He also went on to target the Centre for not releasing funds for subsidy of paddy procurement.

The admission of flaws by the MP of the ruling party made ground for the Opposition to garget the government. The Congress legislative party leader Narasingha Mishra demanded resignation of minister Ranendra Pratap Swain and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over the issue.

“The allegations by the former MP of Bolangir implies that the ruling BJD has admitted the fault in the paddy procurement. As the concerned minister and chief minister are answerable to the public for this fault, they must resign from their respective posts immediately,” said Congress leader Narasingha Mishra.

Meanwhile, the 72 hours ultimatum given by BJP to the State government is going to end tomorrow. So the saffron party is planning to intensify the stir.

“As the 72 hours deadline given to the State government will end tomorrow, an important meeting of BJP is scheduled for the day in Sambalpur. We will take some major decisions in this regard. The government must take measures to procure all the paddy of the farmers. Otherwise, the government must remain prepared to face the massive protest in coming days,” said President of State President of BJP Krushak Morcha.

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