Odisha: BJD Flays Centre For Reduced Budget For Paddy Procurement

Bargarh: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has condemned drastic reduction allocation for paddy procurement in the Union Budget and demanded the Centre to increase MSP to ensure financial security to the farmers of Odisha.

Speaking to media persons at Bargarh on Tuesday, former minister and BJD’s senior vice-president Prasanna Acharya said the Centre has done a huge reduction of Rs 20,000 crore in paddy procurement in the Budget this year. This will not only bring down paddy procurement but also deprive the farmers of getting the minimum support price (MSP).

Stating that particularly the farmers of Western Odisha would be severely affected by the reduced allocation, he said, “Considering the demand of the Odisha farmers, the Odisha Assembly had unanimously approved the proposal to increase the MSP of paddy to Rs 2,930 per quintal. But it will be rejected by the Centre again, affecting the livelihood of lakhs of farmers.”

The BJD leader said the Centre has also slashed the foodgrain procurement target of Odisha. The Centre has reduced the annual rice procurement from the Odisha by Food Corporation of India (FCI) by 80% from 18 lakh tonne rice to only 4 lakh tonne for 2022-23, he added.

Stating that Bargarh district alone produces 4 lakh tonne of rice, he asked, “What will happen to the rest 29 districts of Odisha? Where will the farmers of those districts sell their paddy? The Centre is completely silent about it.”

Coming down on five BJP MPs from Western Odisha for not raising their voice on the issue, Acharya said, “They were elected by the people of western Odisha in 2019 but they have never said one word in favour of the farmers of the region for paddy procurement. How will they face the voters in 2024? Why are the Central Ministers from Odisha silent and not speaking up in the interest of the farmers?”

“We demand that every single surplus food-grain must be lifted from Odisha through paddy procurement by the Centre in the interests of farmers, mainly of Western Odisha. They must not be deprived of their MSP at any cost,” he added.

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