Staying united is important as condition of farmers is deteriorating, says ryots’ leader
When Rajaram Mirig, 45-year-old farmer, walked into Bareipali Market Yard, on the outskirts of Sambalpur town, in swaggering manner with a tractor-load of paddy, he exhibited a rare streak of confidence.
Rajaram was not worried about being made to wait by officials and he was not even aware of being paid below the minimum support price fixed per quintal of paddy.
While the market yard was bustling with activities in the middle of harvesting season, his fellow villager Gukul Mirig from nearby Gadamunda, also looked little concerned about sale of paddy.
At a time distress sale of paddy and harassment of farmers hit headlines, Bareipali Market Yard depicts a different picture. Farmers have virtually taken charge of the market yard forcing the government-appointed functionaries to do their jobs as charted out.
“After months of back-breaking labour, we manage a sizeable yield. If we are forced to sell the crop at lower price or we do not get the payment in lieu of our paddy in time, then our arduous efforts go in vain. So we got united to ensure that we are not cheated,” said Sitakant Panda, president of Jayadurga Anchalik Krushak Sangathan.
Mr. Panda said, “in other market yards, farmers don’t even know the minimum support price fixed by the government.
In that situation, they are very prone to be cheated.” Farmers have formed an 18-member committee to ensure that farmers coming to yard with paddy are not harassed and they are paid their dues in time.
“Staying united is important as condition of farmers is deteriorating by the days. Financial status of big farmers is weaker than those of fourth grade government employees. Farmers are deserting this unprofitable profession,” said Murari Prasad Purohit, president of Sambalpur Krushak Sangathan.
The association has a membership base of 10,000 farmers from Sambalpur, Hirakud, and Burla urban areas and adjoining 33 villages.
Farmers, besides joining hands for getting right price for their products, also remain in the forefront of agitation when water from Hirakud reservoir is allocated to industries ignoring their interest.