Bhubaneswar, Mar 21
Agitating for the last ten days for a better price for their farming produce and social security for themselves, Odisha peasants today suspended their stir till May 5 on government’s promise of action to improve their plight.
Under the banner of Navnirman Krushak Sangathan (NKS) banner, a Atate-based peasants’ body, hundreds of farmers had been on hunger strike in front of the assembly since March 12 demanding “price, pension and prestige” for farmers.
The farmers’ body had earlier announced that they would gherao the assembly if the government did not respond to their demands by noon today.
“We have decided to put the stir on hold till May 5 as the chief minister through a delegation has assured us to pass a resolution in the assembly for social security of farmers. If they do not fulfil the demands, the farmers will resume their stir,” said NKS convenor Akshaya Kumar.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should issue a statement on the state government’s commitments to farmers’ welfare, he added.
A four-member BJD legislators’ delegation met Kumar and other farmer leaders at the agitation site and held talks with them.
“We have appealed to the farmers to withdraw their agitation as the state government is ready to pass a resolution in the assembly favouring social security for farmers. A ministerial committee headed by the (state) finance minister will be set up to deal with farmers’ problem.” BJD MLA delegation leader, Samir Dash told reporters after meeting the agitators.
Kumar said NKS has been demanding a hike in minimum support price (MSP) for paddy to Rs 5,000 per quintal and pension of Rs 5,000 per month for 36 lakh farmers of the State.
A five-member BJD MLA delegation had met the agitating farmers on Tuesday too. But, the farmers did not withdraw the agitation as the delegation did not give any assurance, Kumar said.