House Committee to meet Prez Kovind over paddy MSP issue

Bhubaneswar: With farmers across the state slowly gearing up for protests against both state and the Centre over proper price, pension and prestige, a house committee led by the assembly Speaker has unanimously decided meet President Ram Nath Kovind over its demand to hike the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for paddy.

The decision to meet the President comes following a threadbare discussion during a meeting of the House Committee chaired by Assembly Speaker today.

Members of all parties except two leaders from BJP- KV Singh Deo and Bibhuti Harichandan attended the meeting.

It is to be noted that while the State has been urging the Centre to raise the paddy MSP to Rs 2,930 per quintal, the Centre on February this year increased the MSP of 14 notified kharif crops including paddy at least 1.5 times higher than the production cost.

Thereafter, on July 4 this month, the Union Government hiked the MSP for paddy by a steep Rs 200 per quintal.

As a result, at present the MSP of paddy (common grade) has been increased by Rs 200 to Rs 1,750 per quintal, while that of Grade A variety by Rs 160 per quintal to Rs 1,750.

Earlier last year even though a delegation of the house committee sought an appointment for a meeting with the Prime Minster Narendra Modi to discuss over the issue, the PM did not meet the team leading to ruckus in the state assembly.

Accusing the BJP and the ruling-BJD of being insensitive to farmers in Odisha, the State unit of the Congress party took out a mass rally of farmers at Lower PMG in Bhubaneswar and demanded hike in minimum support price (MSP) of paddy, bonus and pension to farmers, disbursement of insurance money and support for Rabi crops.

Similarly, more than 30,000 farmers from across different parts of Cuttack district took out a rally in the city today and protested government’s silence on their demands.

Naba Nirman Krushak Sangatha, an outfit fighting for the rights of farmers in the state has threatened to launch mega agitations across the state against the government in coming October and November.