BJD Stages Protest Near Odisha Raj Bhavan Over Paddy Procurement, PMGKAY

Bhubaneswar: Opposing the Centre’s decision to stop the PMGKAY free food programme and Rs 20,000 crore cut in paddy procurement, Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) staged a demonstration near Raj Bhavan in Bhubaneswar.

A large number of BJD workers and leaders, including Ministers and legislators, joined the demonstration holding placards and banners protesting the Centre’s move as the ruling party launched its 3-day stir state-wide stir.

Speaking to reporters at the protest site, senior BJD leader Debi Prasad Mishra said the reduction subsidy in the budget will severely affect farmers inOdisha.

Demanding immediate steps to withdraw the decision to stop Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), he said though the COVID-19 situation has improved, the poor people are still reeling under the impact of the pandemic.

Notably, the Centre decided to discontinue the PMGKAY as the economic situation had improved since COVID-19 cases and restrictions had eased. With additional 5 kg free rice per person being stopped under PMGKAY, it decided to provide free rations under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) over the next year in a move to couch the poor from the effects of the scheme, which ended on December 31, 2022.

“We are opposing stoppage of PMGKAY as it affects 3.25 crore population as well as lakhs of farmers in Odisha,” Mishra said.

Stating that BJD will fight to protect the interest of lakhs of farmers, he said the party is also sending a memorandum to the President through the Governor pressing for the demands. The memorandum opposes the reduced allocation for paddy procurement and demands continuation of PMGKAY.

While mass protests will be staged by the party at each Gram Panchayat headquarters in all 30 districts, the BJD protestors will demonstrate in each district collectorate and block office across the state, he said.

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