Party says it would hit the street if paddy procurement was not streamlined in the next 72 hours
The Odisha unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday issued an ultimatum that the party would hit the street if the State government failed to streamline paddy procurement in the next 72 hours.
A delegation of BJP leaders met Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Northern) to discuss the bottlenecks in purchasing thousands of paddy packets lying under open sky in different market yards.
“The discussion has been partially successful. The RDC assured us of resolution of problems that can be taken up at his level whereas he would recommend other issues to the government for redressal,” said Sameer Mohanty, president, Odisha BJP.
The BJP has been at loggerheads with the government over the issue of non-procurement of paddy in western Odisha.
MPs, MLAs and senior party leaders of western Odisha took part in the protest launched by the party on Thursday.
Mr. Mohanty, Leader of the Opposition in the Odisha Legislative Assembly Pradipta Naya, MPs and MLAs slept on the floor of the Sambalpur Town Police Station on Thursday night. BJP cadre again tried to enter the police station.
Jai Naryan Mishra, Sambalpur MLA and convenor of the protest, said, “The RDC assured that he would take steps to stop the collection of a small portion of paddy by procurement agencies, and enable farmers whose token has been lapsed to sell their paddy.”
The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) had attributed disruption in paddy procurement to the non-release of subsidy of about ₹6,039 crore by the Centre.
Ranendra Pratap Swain, State Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare and Cooperation Minister, wrote to Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution: “Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC) has so far borrowed a staggering sum of ₹15,000 crore to run the programme. This high volume of bank loan is mainly due to the non-release of subsidy by the Department of Food and Public Distribution.”
Mr. Swain said the State government had already procured 22% higher paddy than in the previous year, and warned that the procurement of paddy could be affected due to non-release of subsidy.