Congress to hit streets if paddy ‘Katni Chhatni’ not stopped immediately: Bahinipati

Bhubaneswar: Targeting the State government over tardy pace of paddy procurement and delay in opening of mandis, Opposition Chief Whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati today threatened that the Congress will take to streets in two days if the government fails to resolve the issue of farmers at the earliest.

Bahinipati alleged the paddy procurement process could not be carried out due to the alleged nexus between millers and functionaries of the government. Besides, he urged the State government to stop the practice of ‘Katni Chhatni’ (selection of paddy citing fair average quality).

“The government should stop rejection of paddy on the pretext of FAQ. Even the Collectors are not paying heed which is why paddy sacks are lying at mandis,” stated Bahinipati adding that the Food Supplies Minister has not been able to address the issue of farmers.

Augmenting his attack on the minister, Bahinipati questioned, “Is Patro inclined towards the issue of farmers or worried about the interest of millers?”

Besides, he said that the government machineries are involved in organising the Hockey World Cup without looking into the issues of farmers. “I request the State government to intervene and solve the issue at the earliest. Paddy should be purchased immediately and farmers should not be exploited,” he stated.

Meanwhile, in response to Bahinipati’s comments, Minister SN Patro informed that a directive has been issued to the Collectors to arrest miller and officials of the Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) if they are found involved in ‘Katni Chhatni’.

“This apart, the Collectors will ensure that the PACS does not keep paddy for more than 24 hours,” he stated.

Paddy procurement has begun in more than 23 districts while in Ganjam district, the process will begin from December 15. “The issues in Kalahandi and Nuapada districts have also been sorted out,” the minister added.