Farmers’ stir ends in Odisha after govt accepts most demands

Farmers' stir ends in Odisha after govt accepts most demands

SAMBALPUR (Odisha): The week-long farmers’ agitation here ended on Thursday with the Odisha government accepting their demand of allowing paddy sale in the state-operated market yard, without the centralised token. The tokens will be now generated for farmers who have not received them yet, at the market yard, after they come with their paddy, officials said.

Under the centralised system, the tokens are sent to the registered mobile numbers of the farmers. The date of selling paddy and its quantity will also be mentioned in the token. The agitating farmers raised the concern that the harvesting season and yield rates vary across the state, and hence, a single procurement policy will not be viable. Earlier in the day, farmers blocked the National Highway-53 in Sambalpur district and at Bargarh district, calling for withdrawal of the centralised token system.

The road blockades were, however, later lifted following the intervention of Labour Minister Susant Singh, and deputy government chief whip and Rairakhol MLA, Rohit Pujari, who held a discussion with the agitators, the officials said. Singh said the centralised token policy has been formulated for the entire state and it cannot be repealed, but relaxed for some areas.

“Considering their demands, we have made some relaxation for the farmers of Hirakud command area. A decision has been taken to make arrangements to procure paddy from even those farmers, who come to the market yard without the tokens.

“No farmer will be sent back on the pretext of the centralised token,” he said. Adviser of Sambalpur Zilla Krushak Surakhya Sangathan (SZKSS), Ashok Pradhan said the government has accepted the majority of their demands.

“The farmers who have not received the tokens but harvested the crop, could also sell the paddy at the market yard,” Pradhan said. He said the state government had earlier fixed a cap on sale of paddy per day, but that restriction is now withdrawn.

“Moreover, they have also assured us that the government would write to the Centre to increase the yield rate, which was fixed at 19 quintal per acre for irrigated land and 13 quintal per acre for non-irrigated land,” Pradhan said. PTI

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