Odisha govt assures to lift paddy from all registered farmers
Bhubaneswar, Mar 20: A day after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik assured protesting BJP legislators of resolving paddy procurement issue, the Odisha government on Friday made a statement in the assembly that grain will be purchased from all the registered farmers by March 31. Cooperation minister R P Swain made a statement to this effect in the House as per a ruling given by Speaker S N Patro.
The minister said that during ongoing Kharif marketing season, 61.24 lakh metric tonne paddy worth Rs 11.441 crore has so far been procured in the state. He said, the procurement process will continue till March 31. The total paddy procured in the current khariff season will be 18 per cent higher than that of the previous year.
Till March of last kharif season, 51.73 lakh metric tonne paddy was procured and a total of 53.31 lakh metric tonne paddy had been bought by the end of last kharif season, the minister said. Stating that there is a significant rise in the number of farmers taking part in the paddy procurement process this time, the minister said as many as 11.50 lakh farmers have so far sold their produce in the state-run mandis as against 9.30 lakh farmers doing so during last year''s khariff season.
The minister also urged MLAs to report if they find any genuine farmer being deprived of selling paddy so that necessary steps can be taken to resolve the issue. He said measures are taken to smoothen paddy procurement procedure. However, the ministers statement failed to satisfy the opposition as BJP members staged a walk out while Congress MLAs sat on dharna in the well of the house protesting irregularities in paddy procurement. "The chief minister has not kept his words.
He did not turn up to the all party meeting and the government did not assure to procure all paddy lying in different mandis," Naik said. Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra, who sat on a dharna in well of the house along with party colleagues, came down heavily on both the BJD and BJP accusing them of being hand in glove with each other. Mishra sat on dharna for not being allowed to speak over the BJD and BJPs alleged understanding.
"The BJP MLAs had marched towards Naveen Niwas like ''baratis'' and chief minister Naveen Patnaik greeted them on Thursday. The women members of BJD welcomed them with traditional rituals.
"Ministers were also waiting for them at Naveen Niwas. Earlier, we had termed them (BJD & BJP) as brothers which was proved yesterday," Mishra said. Congress whip Taraprasad Bahinipati, termed BJP MLAs march to CM''s residence as "farce". However, Leader of Opposition P K Naik, of the BJP expressed regret on their visit to Naveen Niwas and alleged that the chief minister did not keep his words.
Naik also mentioned that Law Minister Pratap Jena had said that the BJP MLAs had been to Naveen Niwas to wash away their sins. He condemned Jenas statement and asked,"Are we sinners?" "We did not want to go inside; however, we entered Naveen Niwas premises keeping in view the dignity of the chief minister. Later, the chief minister treated us," he said.
Describing the march of BJP MLAs to Naveen Niwas as farce, Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati said, "It was pre arranged. The chief minister knew that the BJP MLAs are coming there." However, Naik said, "It was not we (BJP), but the Congress which is the B-group of the BJD." The house returned to normalcy after an all party meeting convened by the speaker.