Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today came down heavily on the BJP-led Union Government, alleging that the Centre’s anti-farmer policy will severely affect the farmers of Odisha.
The BJD accused the Centre of not lifting surplus parboiled rice from Odisha, which would adversely burden Odisha and especially the farmers.
“Recently, the Centre sent a letter stating that they would limit the lifting of parboiled rice to the extent of 50% of the original estimates and would not accept any surplus Parboiled rice during Rabi season 2020-21. This anti-farmer decision by the Centre will severely affect the farmers of Odisha”, the BJD said in a statement.
In Kharif 2019-20, 53.31 Lakh Metric Tonnes (LMT) Paddy was procured and in Rabi 2019-20, 17.25 LMT of Paddy was procured, totaling 71 LMT. Out of this, 48 LMT rice was obtained. From this 48 LMT rice, 24 LMT was consumed by Odisha while 17 LMT was procured by Food Corporation of India (FCI) for the Centre and 7 lakhs were used in the PMGKAY programme.
In 2020-21, 35.49 LMT Paddy has been procured and about 30 LMT more would be procured totaling 65 LMT of Paddy procurement for Kharif season. In Rabi, about 17 LMT would be procured, totaling 82 LMT of Paddy procurement for 2020-21. Out of this, 82 LMT Paddy about 55 LMT Rice would be obtained and almost all of it would be parboiled rice. Out of this 55 LMT rice, 24 LMT would be consumed in Odisha, about 10 LMT as per the recent letter from Centre would be procured by FCI and the rest 21 LMT rice worth about Rs. 7350 crore would not be lifted/evacuated by the Centre. This would adversely burden Odisha and especially the farmers, the statement said.
The BJD also demanded the Centre to withdrawal its anti-farmer policy of restricting lifting/evacuation of rice from Odisha and lift the total surplus rice of 31 LMT from the State.
The Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd. (OSCSC) procures paddy in the State and pays the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of paddy to the farmers by taking loans and in this season has already paid Rs.6550 crore to the farmers. The Centre pays the advance subsidy amount in the first month of every quarter and presently about Rs. 6040 crore of subsidy amount payable to Odisha is pending with the Centre. This huge outstanding amount is putting a severe financial burden on Odisha but the Centre is unmindful of this.
Instead of the BJP leaders in Odisha shedding crocodile tears about farmers, they should raise their voices with their party ruled Union Government and get the outstanding amount of Rs. 6040 crore released to Odisha, the BJD said.
“If they are able to do it, we would appreciate them and if they are unable to do it, then their crocodile tears would be exposed before the farmers of Odisha”, the BJD further said.
If within the next seven days, the demand for lifting the 31 Lakh MT of mostly parboiled rice for 2020-21 is not accepted by Centre/FCI, and the outstanding Rs.6040 crore of subsidy amount is not paid to Odisha, the farmers of Odisha will then descend on the streets of the State and at that time, Biju Janata Dal will support and stand with the farmers of the State, it said.