BJP Krushak Morcha up in arms over farmers’ issue

Bhubaneswar: Members of the Odisha BJP Krushak Morcha today scuffled with security personnel while trying to barge into the premises of the State Secretariat here opposing Cooperation Minister Surjya Narayan Patro’s remark challenging the Opposition to prove allegations that paddy is being procured at prices below the stipulated MSP at different mandis across the State.

Shouting slogans and holding placards, hundreds of members of the BJP’s farmer wing stormed the street near the State Secretariat and tried to enter the office building when police personnel deployed near the main gate of the Secretariat stopped them.

Later as a minor scuffle ensued, cops detained several BJP activists to prevent the protest from flaring up further.

“The paddy should be procured at the MSP of Rs 1750 per quintal. But millers are charging rates less than MSP leading to losses for farmers. We suspect that the millers are hand in glove with Minister Patro,” rued a protestor.

Another agitating farmer stated that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should take immediate action against minister Patro for his comments.

In his reaction BJP vice president Samir Mohanty said, “As mandis have not opened farmers are going for distress sale. Millers are taking undue advantage of this and collecting paddy from farmers at Rs 1200-1300 per quintal.”

Earlier, Patro had stated in a press conference that the BJP and other Opposition parties are leveling false allegations without any proof that paddy is being sold at prices lower than the MSP in the State.

While giving out details of this year’s paddy procurement, Patro had said, “Around 21.61 lakh MT of paddy procured during the Kharif season this year is nearly 18 % more compared to last year’s total procurement and 12.6 lakh farmers have registered themselves to participate in the procurement process during the current year.”

The Minister had further stated that nearly 2,22,000 additional farmers have registered this year while the number of mandis has also increased to 3,013 from 2,929 last year.