18 November 2019
Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Assembly today witnessed ruckus over the issue of online paddy procurement as Congress Members alleged distress sale.
As Congress members stood up in their seats and shouted slogans to draw the attention of the Chair towards irregularities in the procurement of paddy at mandis (marketing yards), unable to run the House during Question Hour, Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro adjourned the House at 10.45 AM till 3 PM.
Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Narasingha Mishra said that October is about to end but paddy procurement is yet to begin.
He pointed out that harvesting of paddy has started especially, in western Odisha but the government is yet to make any arrangement for the procurement of paddy.
"The government has stopped issuing tokens for paddy procurement at the district level and now they say that they will issue tokens from Bhubaneswar. The paddy procurement committee at the district level in Bolangir it was decided to procure paddy from November 15. Today I spoke to the district administration, I was told procurement has not started. None of the farmers have received tokens. Today is 18th neither have farmers got their tokens nor paddy is being procured," stated Mishra talking to reporters.
Mishra alleged that farmers in all districts are agitating but no one is listening to them.
Citing electronic media reports he further alleged that paddy is lying at mandis while there is no one to buy and farmers are forced to distress sell their produce.
Accusing the district administration of being a silent spectator while farmers suffered, the senior Congress leader termed Speaker adjourning the House till 3 PM as 'unfortunate'.
"How can a State prosper when agriculture is not prospering, farmers are not prospering?" wondered BJP legislator Jayanarayan Mishra.
Mishra said that token system should be completely withdrawn otherwise the system adopted in mandis in Punjab should be adopted here.
"In the name of cooperative societies it is millers who are buying paddy," Mishra alleged.
However, on the other hand, Food Supplies & Consumer Welfare, Cooperation Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain has said that the token system introduced for paddy procurement is transparent and clean. Aadhar seeding of farmers have been done and accordingly, they have been issued with tokens, he added.
"12 lakh farmers have been registered. There has been no discrimination. Genuine farmers will benefit. We have developed a technically robust system. The situation that has arisen is being discussed. The government is alert towards the interest of the farmers. Anything that is needed to be done in the interest of the farmers will be done," said Swain tor reporters.