‘BJD govt provoking distress sale by closing mandis ahead of schedule’

Bhubaneswar: Dubbing Odisha government as anti-farmer, the state unit Congress today criticised it for closing the mandis two months ahead of schedule which will contribute to farmer suicides.

“Closing mandis ahead of schedule will lead to distress sale of paddy which will lead to farmer suicide,” warned PCC president Niranjan Patnaik.

The state government had decided to procure 55 lakh tonnes of paddy in 2018-19 kharif season which starts in November and ends on April 30. But this year till date around 50 lakh tonnes have been procured as per government source, which is yet to be ascertained. Also government decided to close the mandis by end of February, two months prior to the schedule time. In various mandis farmers are waiting to sell their thousand quintals of paddy. But government agencies are not paying any heed, he alleged.

“Neither the central government hiked Minimum Support Price for paddy nor the state govt hiked bonus. Farmers are selling paddy at Rs 1500- to Rs 1600. Whereas in Chhattisgarh MSP of paddy has been fixed at Rs 2500. When our farmers are not getting remunerative price for paddy, the govt is shutting down the mandis before two months. By this, the govt is instigating them for distress sale,” alleged Niranjan Patnaik.

This will further worsen their financial situation and they will commit suicide. Naveen Patnaik’s govt will be solely responsible for such an unfortunate scenario, he added.

He demanded Odisha govt must purchase the entire paddy stacked in the mandis else Congress will take to the roads in support of farmers, warns Niranjan.

If Congress forms government in Odisha, farmers of state will smile again. As mentioned in our guarantee card to the Annadatas of Odisha the Congress will – (a) Increase the MSP of paddy to Rs 2600, (b) Waive off farm loans and (c) Provide solar pumps for irrigation and financial assistance to farmers for five years, he concluded.

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