Special package for farmers demanded in Odisha

The Navnirman Krushak Sangathan (NKS), an outfit of farmers, on Thursday, demanded a special package of Rs 75,000 crore for the welfare of farmers and development of the agriculture sector of Odisha. It demanded the government to announce the package in the budget to be tabled on February 18.

NKS national convener Akshaya Kumar said both the state and the Centre have been neglecting the farmers and agriculture sector. “We are fighting for the proper price to agriculture produces and pension to poor farmers. Out of the total package, we want the government to sanction Rs 21,600 crore towards monthly pension of poor farmers,” he said while addressing media here on Thursday.

He added, the Rs 21,600 crore per annum will help the government to pay the pension of Rs 5,000 per month to 36 lakh poor farmers of the state. Another fund from the package can be spent on agriculture industries, employment generation, health, education and all-round development of the farmer community.

“We want the government to fulfill these demands before March 31. We want to put pressure on the government to do it. If it does not fulfill our demands, lakhs of farmers will hit the street on May 26 and intensify the stir for seven days,” said Kumar.

He also said they will also demand a hike in minimum support price (MSP) of paddy to Rs 2930 per quintal instead of paying a meager Rs 1815 now. The NKS had called for Odisha bandh on February 21 last year demanding pension to farmers and justified price for their agricultural produce.

Farmer leaders said the state government has to give priority to the agriculture sector by digging irrigation points and canals. The government has to strengthen infrastructure and create an opportunity for farmers to make agricultural activities a profitable business, they added.

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