Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Assembly on Friday witnessed pandemonium and was adjourned twice due to protest by opposition Congress and BJP members over the government’s paddy procurement policy.
The issue was raised by the opposition members in the Assembly soon after the Question Hour concluded without any disruption and they demanded a statement from the food supplies and consumer welfare minister R P Swain during the Zero Hour.
Farmers of Sambalpur and Bargarh district were protesting against the centralised token system and raised the concern that the harvesting season and yield rates vary across the state, and hence, a single procurement policy will not be viable.
Under the centralised system, the tokens are sent to the registered mobile numbers of the farmers. The date of selling paddy and its quantity will also be mentioned in the token.
“Let the minister speak in the House. Yesterday, labour minister (Sushant Singh) had said that the centralised token system will be relaxed for the farmers in the Hirakud Command area. Is it the stand of the state government,” Leader of Opposition Pradipta Kumar Naik asked.
Labour minister Sushant Singh and deputy government chief whip Rohit Pujari had on Thursday rushed to the spot where the farmers of two districts were agitating.
Singh along with Pujari had announced that the farmers can sale their paddy without the centralised token in the state-run market yards. Senior BJP members JN Mishra also criticised the government for making policy announcements outside the House when the Assembly is in session.
Congress Legislature Party Leader Narasingha Mishra alleged that the state government has adopted two policies in paddy procurement.”How the government will have one policy for the farmers of Sambalpur and Bargarh districts and another for rest of the districts. Will the farmers of Kalahandi and Bolangir also enjoy the same facility given to the farmers of Hirakud command area,” Mishra asked.
Government chief whip Pramilla Mallick said, “Relaxation for farmers in Hirakud command area may be personal views of labour minister and deputy chief whip. Both of them have not come to the House today. I can only say that they were sent to Sambalpur and Bargarh by the party or the
Demanding a statement from the government, the opposition members rushed to the well of the House and shouted slogans.
“The minister concerned does not know what the other minister decides on the paddy procurement policy,” said Congress member Santosh Singh Saluja.
Unable to run the House, speaker S N Patro adjourned the proceedings twice. Later, the proceedings in the House resumed after Patro asked the minister to make comment on the issue in the Assembly.
“I will collect facts and inform the House about it (change in the paddy procurement policy),” Swain said.