Speaking to mediapersons in Bargarh, BJD Vice President Prasanna Acharya said the Centre has drastically reduced the budgetary provision for procurement of paddy for the year 2023-24.
The budgetary allocation has been slashed by Rs 20,000 crore, which will virtually ensure that the farmers are unable to even get their MSP, while paddy procurement will also drastically go down, Acharya said.
This drastic reduction of budgetary provision will severely affect the farmers of Odisha, especially in western Odisha, deeply impacting their livelihood, he said.
Acharya also said that the reduction of budget shows that the Centre won't increase the MSP to 1.5 times.
The demand of Odisha farmers, as passed by the Assembly unanimously, to increase MSP of paddy per quintal to Rs 2,930 will again be rejected by the Centre, causing angst and pain to lakhs of farmers, Acharya said.
Stating that the Centre has also slashed the foodgrain procurement target for Odisha, Acharya said from 18 lakh metric tonne (MT) rice which used to be lifted from Odisha by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) annually, now for 2022-23 the Centre has reduced it by 80 per cent to only four lakh MT.
"Bargarh district alone produces four lakh MT of rice, what will happen to the rest 29 districts of Odisha? Where will the farmers of those 29 districts sell their paddy," he asked.
Acharya also questioned the silence of five BJP MPs from western Odisha on this issue.
"How will they even face the same voters in 2024 who had trusted them in 2019? Why are the Central ministers from Odisha silent about issues relating to paddy procurement," Acharya asked.
He demanded that every single surplus food-grain must be lifted from Odisha through paddy procurement process by the Centre in the interest of the farmers, mainly from western Odisha.
The farmers of Odisha must not be deprived of their MSP at any cost, the BJD leader said.