BJP demands CBI probe into ‘faulty’ paddy procurement

Bargarh: A day after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report picked up loopholes in paddy procurement by Odisha government, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded a CBI probe into the matter in Bargarh on Tuesday. Blaming the State government for its ‘anti-farmer’ policy, the saffron party said the government must pay the farmers their input subsidy and bonus at the earliest.

The CAG report tabled yesterday by Finance Minister Pradeep Amat showed that Against marketable surplus of 8,512.44 quintals, 17,981.51 quintals (9,469.07 quintal excess) paddy was procured from 25 farmers and 1,914.19 quintal procured from 19 farmers who had no agricultural land. Similarly, paddy was also procured without verifying farmers’ identity, without issuing vendors receipts, while payments to farmers were either delayed or not paid, it said. Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC) had procured paddy valued at Rs 25,509 crore during 2010-15, but subsidy of Rs 581.68 crore for the period was not released by the Centre due to delay in finalisation of accounts.

“The State government must clarify on what basis paddy was procured without verifying the identities of the farmers. Besides for its own fault it didn’t get the subsidy from Centre which in turn could not reach us. We demand a CBI inquiry into the paddy procurement policy of State government,” a farmer said.

Farmers in large numbers who had congregated near the High School square of the town gheraoed the Collector’s office and urged early fulfilment of their demands. Their nine-point charter of demand included Rs 100 per quintal bonus, input subsidy and crop insurance.

The rally was led by BJP State president Basant Panda, national general secretary Sarat Pujari and Aswini Sarangi.
“We too demand that the State government must come clean on the ration card distribution. Large scale irregularities have been found while selecting beneficiaries under the NFSA, while the real beneficiaries are yet to receive cards,” Panda stated.

A similar rally in Boudh district was also organised by the party which was attended by BJP state secretary Lekhashree Samantray and Samir Mohanty. A 12-point charter of demands was presented to the Collector during the rally.