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BJP steps up FDI protest

BJP leaders protest in front of Raj Bhavan in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday. Telegraph picture

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 21: The BJP state unit today demanded a rollback of the UPA government’s decision to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail sector.

“We can foresee the kind of disaster that the country’s economy is going to face in the future because of this wrong legislation,” said the BJP state leaders in a memorandum addressed to President of India, which was submitted through the governor.

“The dominance of foreign investors in retail sector would create a trade imbalance, artificial scarcity of commodities as well as unusual competition in the retail sector. Unorganised producers will not be able to withstand competition of the multi-nationals,” said the memorandum.

BJP state president Jual Oram, who led the demonstration in front of Raj Bhavan here, said similar demonstrations were also held at 40 other places across the state.

In a related development, activists of a number of farmers’ committees staged a demonstration under the banner of Odisha Chashi Suraksha Abhiyan today to protest against the “anti-farmer” policies of both the Naveen Patnaik government in the state and the UPA-II government at the Centre.

Addressing the gathering, former Union minister Braja Kishore Tripathy said the agriculture sector in the state had collapsed because of the state government’s negligence, which has forced the farmers to commit suicide out of despair.

Among the other demands of the protesters were fixing of minimum support price for paddy at the rate of Rs 2,000 per quintal along with an additional bonus of Rs 300, payment of compensation to farmers affected by unseasonal rainfall and drought and abolition of agricultural cess.

“The farmers will be forced to launch a civil disobedience movement from December 11 if their demands are not met by the government,” said Tripathy.