Other States

Peasants’ organisation puts demands before govt


Peasants’ organisation Odisha Krushak Sabha (OKS) has come up with a series of demands before the government that were discussed during a conference of farmer representatives of the organisation from Ganjam, the home district of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

During the conference held in Berhampur on Thursday, the dire state of peasants in home district of the CM was highlighted to show the real condition of agriculture in Odisha. State president of OKS Abhiram Behera said governments at the Centre as well in the State seem to be more interested in protection of the interests of corporate houses rather than that of poor peasants. While elaborating on the demands of the OKS, he criticised the land bank scheme of the government which will include the land which would be taken away from illegal encroachers of government land. “The land in this land bank is to be utilised for infrastructure development like roads as well as for industrial purpose. But OKS demands the land reacquired from illegal encroachers to be distributed among landless farmers.

The OKS wanted procurement price of paddy to be increased to Rs.3,000 per quintal. As per the organisation, last year the procurement price of paddy was Rs.1,410 which has been hiked to Rs.1,470 this year.

This low price is not providing much profit to the paddy growers, who are incurring losses, said Mr Behera. OKS activists have demanded that the total paddy produced in the State to be procured through the mandis opened up by State government. For which they proposed establishment of mandis and rest sheds for farmers in every panchayat of the State.

A major demand of OKS was identification and recognition of share croppers in the State and provision of all benefits meant for farmers to them. According to Mr. Behera, last month the State government had directed selection of 25 land owning farmers and 25 contractual farmers from 105 selected tehsils to take their opinion regarding recognition of share croppers.

“We feel through this method the real small share croppers who are worst sufferers would not be able to provide their opinion and only the farmers involved in contract farming under companies and big land lords would be taken into account. We demand the opinion of real small share croppers to be collected through gramsabha and peasant organisations to be included in the share cropper identification process,” Mr. Behera said. OKS activists wanted every farmer in the State, including share croppers, to be provided identity cards for recognition and provision of zero interest loans up to one lakh rupees to farmers, where government should provide the guarantee to the financing agency.

OKS alleged that more than 200 farmers had committed suicide due to crop loss and debt burden in the State during the BJD rule. It demanded Rs.10 lakh compensation for families of each of these deceased peasants. Pension scheme for farmers over 60 years of age was also among the demands.

There was demand for establishment of cold storage in every block of the State, but OKS wanted them to be set up by government or cooperative bodies. Ganjam district secretary of OKS P.Harikrushna Reddy and president Gopal Panigrahy alleged that even in CM’s home district farmers were languishing due to lack of irrigation facility. They demanded major efforts to enhance irrigation network in all areas of the district.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 9:12:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/Peasants%E2%80%99-organisation-puts-demands-before-govt/article14427129.ece

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