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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Sambalpur: The agitation by farmers in Sambalpur district against centralised token system in paddy procurement was called off last night following written assurance from the district administration.

Sub-collector Anirudh Pradhan reportedly assured the agitating farmers to look into their five-point charter of demands following which they withdrew their strike. “The farmers have five demands which we have agreed to fulfil after due consideration,” Pradhan said.

“Tokens will be issued to the registered and verified farmers after they reach Mandi with their paddy. If the iris biometric scan fails, a relative of the farmer would be issued token after due verification of his Aadhaar card and other documents. Besides, the token irregularities surfaced in Kuchinda area will be addressed soon,” added Pradhan.

As per the reports, Pradhan, in that written assurance also mentioned that any technical snag arising in issuance of tokens will be resolved within seven days. A squad will be constituted to check the quality of the paddy as well.

Speaking on the issue, a farmer, Murari Purohit said, “The district administration along with a minister of Odisha government had earlier assured us the same a month back but reneged on their promise. This time they have provided us a written assurance. Let’s see whether they can keep their words.”

Earlier, the centralised token system in paddy procurement witnessed strong protests by farmers in Bargarh and Sambalpur districts. However, the farmers withdrew their protests after minister Sushant Singh assured that the paddy stock would be procured even without the tokens. As the promise was not fulfilled, the farmers resorted to protest again.

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