Odisha farmers’ body blocks traffic on NH 5 for four hours

Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Mar 26:

Vehicular traffic was disrupted for more than four hours near Hanspal on the outskirts of the city as members of the Naba Nirman Krushak Sangathan (NNKS), an organisation fighting for the cause of farmers in Odisha, blocked the NH-5 this afternoon demanding pension for farmers and bonus on paddy.

Pic: Biswaranjan Mishra
Pic: Biswaranjan Mishra

Vehicular traffic came to a complete standstill for hours as hundreds of farmers staged a dharna on both sides of the NH-5. Even ambulances were seen stuck on the road due to the protest.

The protest started that around 10 am gathered momentum as the protesters reached the place in batches swelling the numbers.

Additional DCP Pradeep Pattnaik, zonal ACP, ACP traffic and IIC Mancheswar, along with five platoons of police forces, rushed to the spot, but it took them more than four hours to restore normalcy and resume vehicular traffic.

The agitators staged a protest against the State Government’s alleged apathy towards farmers.

They demanded a minimum pension of Rs 500 for farmers from the age of 20 years and at least Rs 100 as bonus on minimum support price (MSP) of paddy to bail out farmers from ruin.

The farmers further demanded setting up of cold storages across the State to preserve agricultural produces and mandis for marketing of the produces. They also called for an amendment to the Relief Code to give actual compensation to farmers.

nks one

NNKS coordinator Akshay Kumar said they had met Chief Secretary GC Pati on Wednesday and discussed a 29-point charter of demands of the farmers.

“The Chief Secretary assured us that the Government would try to fulfil the demands, but he cannot give us any firm commitment on our specific demands,” Kumar said.

Kumar said the Sangathan has been staging road blockades, dharnas and other types of agitation to press its demands, but the State Government had not taken any steps to meet the demands.

“The former Chief Secretary had also promised us to solve the problems, but nothing has happened so far,” Kumar pointed out.

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