BJD to launch massive protest in Odisha against Centre’s fund cut for paddy procurement, PMGKAY closure

Bhubaneswar: Opposing Centre’s decision for reducing the allocation on paddy procurement and closure of PMGKAY programme, Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) will launch a massive protest from February 14 to 16.

With cut in funds by Rs 20,000 crore in Centre’s annual Budget for the year 2023-24, lakhs of farmers especially in western Odisha will be severely affected in the state, BJD MLA Arun Kumar Sahoo said in a press meet.

Earlier, the Centre used to procure 18 lakh MT rice from Odisha that has been reduced to only 4 lakh MT, he stated mentioning that only Bargarh district alone produces 4 lakh MT paddy in Odisha. With reduction in allocation for the state, the condition of farmers in rest of 29 districts will be at stake. he said.

Addressing media persons here today, the BJD leader said that the Centre has closed Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY). Under this programme, Centre was providing additional 5kg free rice per person under the PMGKAY programme apart from 5kg rice under National Food Security Act (NFSA). With closure of the scheme, the paddy procurement will drastically go down and the farmers will be deprived of getting the MSP.

For the interest of lakhs of farmers who will be affected due to Centre’s revised paddy procurement policy, the BJD will stage a protest in front of the Raj Bhawan on February 14 morning demanding the Centre to procure all food grains from Odisha.

“If the demand is not met within 15 days, the party will protest across the state against Central negligence towards farmers of Odisha,” Sahoo said.

As per the decision, a BJD delegation will meet Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal on February 14 and submit a memorandum pressing their demands before the Central Government for millions of farmers.

Next day, mass protests will be staged by the party at each Gram Panchayat headquarters in all 30 districts. On February 16, the BJD protestors will demonstrate in each collectorate and block office.

The party will also oppose the closure of PMGKAY that will affect 3.25 crore population as well as lakhs of farmers in Odisha.

A memorandum will be submitted to President of India through all the collectors opposing the reduction in allocation in the Budget for paddy procurement and demanding continuation of PMGKAY. Failing to meet the demand, the party will hit the streets for rights of poor and farmers in the state, Sahoo informed.


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