Staff Reporter

Sequel to assurance by district administration on paddy procurement

The sabha alleges politicisation of farmers’ committees

District Collector promises probe into the charge

BERHAMPUR: The activists of the Ganjam district unit of the Orissa Krushak Sabha have decided to defer their indefinite hunger strike at Chatrapur following promises by the district administration.

The Krushak Sabha activists launched hunger strike in front of the Collector’s office at Chatrapur from Friday to oppose the alleged irregularities in the paddy procurement process in the home district of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The president of the Ganjam unit of the peasants’ organisation, Kailash Sadangi, said they deferred their indefinite hunger strike for the time being following a discussion with district Collector V.K. Pandian on Saturday.

The peasants’ organisation said they would restart their agitation if the promises were not fulfilled. The organisation is opposing the politicisation of farmers’ committees formed in panchayats to monitor the paddy procurement process and the delay in opening of paddy procurement ‘mandis’. It was alleged that at most places in Ganjam district farmers’ committees had been filled by the activists of ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), who at several places did not have any connection with farming. When asked about specific complaint, the activists cited examples of farmers’ committees formed in Digaphandi, Patrapur, Kukudakhandi and Shergarh areas. The district Collector promised probe into the allegation by the sub-collector and their reconstitution if needed.

Regarding the delay in opening of panchayat-level paddy procurement ‘mandis’ in the district, the Collector made the promise that by Saturday 200 mandis would start functioning in the district. In next ten days the rest panchayat-level mandis would be opened.

Lack of coordination

Mr. Sadangi said the administrative officials during their discussion stated that lack of coordination with the civil supplies department was proving a hindrance in the proper management of the paddy procurement process. The Krushak Sabha activists also protested against some derogatory remarks made against them by some officials of the civil supplies department.

It was also decided to open two special checkposts at Digaphandi and Purushottampur to curb illegal transportation of paddy to adjoining Andhra Pradesh by the traders. The checkposts would be managed by the Regional Marketing Cooperative Society.