A day after the Centre enhanced the minimum support price (MSP) for paddy by Rs 100 per quintal, Odisha's ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Thursday reiterated its demand to enhance this to Rs 2,930 per quintal.
The Centre has increased the MSP of common grade variety of paddy from Rs 1,940 in 2021-22 to Rs 2,040 per quintal for 2022-23 crop year for common variety.
Addressing a press conference here, BJD national spokesperson Sasmit Patra said this increase of merely Rs 100 per quintal is not sufficient and that the BJD has been demanding for increasing the MSP for paddy to 1.5 times of the cost of production, as per the Swaminathan Commission recommendations.
Patra said that on March 25, 2017, the Odisha assembly had unanimously passed a resolution recommending that the MSP of common paddy be increased to Rs 2,930 per quintal.
"All MLAs including those from BJP, Congress and BJD had unanimously supported this. But even after five years of the passage of this resolution and numerous demands in this regard placed by the BJD MPs in the Parliament as well as in the Assembly, the Centre has not implemented it," he said.
Apart from the issue of increasing the MSP of paddy to Rs 2,930 per quintal, Centre should lift all surplus par-boiled rice from Odisha, the BJD MP demanded.
Stating most of rice produced in Odisha is par-boiled rice and is one of the leading states in contributing to the PDS rice in the nation, Patra said the Centre's decision to stop lifting surplus par-boiled rice will adversely affect lakhs of farmers of Odisha and that too from the western Odisha majorly.
He also demanded the Union government to release food subsidy dues of Rs 10,334 crore.
Further, the additional interest incurred till March 31, 2022 because of delay in release and short release of subsidy comes to around Rs 5,454.67 crore which remains unrecouped, he added. "The Centre should pay the interest component failing which the state will bear the additional cost," he further demanded.
Reacting to the statement of Patra, Odisha BJP farmers' wing President Pradeep Purohit said: "Instead of doing politics, if the BJD government is having any sympathy for the farmers, they should provide bonus to the state farmers in addition to the MSP."
The BJD is demanding to enhance the paddy MSP to Rs 2930 per quintal. As the Centre will now provide Rs 2,040 per quintal, the state government should pay the remaining amount to the farmers as bonus, he added.
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