BJP MLA tries to consume sanitiser

Odisha, March 13: An Odisha BJP MLA tried to consume sanitiser inside the State in protest over the alleged non-procurement of paddy from farmers in mandis.

BJP MLA of Deogarh Subash Panigrahi was thwarted from drinking the sanitiser by State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha and fellow MLAs who were present in the House.

The incident took place while Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare and Cooperation Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain was about to present a statement over paddy procurement, in the Assembly.

Farmers are going through a crisis. I had consumed a few drops of sanitiser before fellow MLAs snatched it from me. It was a desperate attempt as there was no solution in sight despite concerns being expressed in the House,” Panigrahi told reporters outside the House.

The MLA said he was finding it very difficult to face the farmers, who were not able to sell their paddy for months together in the Primary Agricultural Credit Society (PACS) in his constituency.

‘Significant rise’

The Minister informed the Assembly that 60.40 lakh a tonne of paddy had been procured this kharif season so far compared to 53.31 lakh tonne procured last kharif season.

This year 14.97 lakh farmers have registered for the sale of paddy of which 11.22 lakh have already sold paddy. Last year, it was 9.17 lakh farmers. It indicates a significant rise in the number of farmers from whom paddy has been procured,” said Swain.

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As of now, ₹10,828 crores has been transferred to the accounts of farmers towards paddy procurement. Paddy procurement is going on in all western Odisha districts, except Bargarh and Sambalpur.

Odisha recorded a bumper crop this year. Thousands of farmers have been waiting at PACS to sell their products but they were turned away saying there was no sanction for further procurement. As the last date of procurement is March 31, farmers are getting unnerved further.