Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Assembly on Wednesday witnessed a unique situation when a section of MLAs of the ruling BJD criticised the State government’s centralised token system, introduced for paddy procurement.
During the Question Hour, the party’s Bargarh MLA Debesh Acharya said that farmers have been facing difficulties with the system due to lack of internet connectivity in rural areas and demanded scrapping of the new arrangement.
He said farmers are unable to sell their produce in the state-run market yard due to the new centralised system and urged his own government “not to put farmers in trouble in the name of transparency”.
Supporting Acharya, the government deputy chief whip Rohit Pujari alleged that the system has cuased delay in paddy procurement.
Pujari represents Rairakhol Assembly constituency in the western Odisha where the farmers demanded withdrawal of the new arrangement.”Farmers are not sure when paddy will be procured as they are yet to receive their tokens,” he said.
Under the centralised system, a token is sent to the registered mobile number of a farmer. The date of selling of the paddy and quantity of the produce, the farmer could sell, will be mentioned in it.
Another BJD MLA from Padampur Bijaya Ranjan Singh Bariha also said the system should be “withdrawn immediately” to facilitate farmers to sell their paddy in a specified timeline.
Food supplies and consumer welfare minister RP Swain, however, tried to defend the government’s move and said the online centralised token system has been introduced to give actual price to the farmers.
“Our objective is to keep the middlemen out of the paddy procurement system. It has been decided that farmers, who have received the tokens but are not able to sell their paddy at the procurement centre for some reasons, will be allowed to sell their produce,” the minister said. He also said that there was “no question of withdrawing the online system”.
The ruling party members were not happy over the minister’s comment and said it was not helping the farmers.
The opposition BJP member Nauri Naik and some other MLAs from the Congress also demanded withdrawal of the new arrangement.