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BJD's paddy salvo at PM

Narendra Modi

Bhubaneswar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence over a meeting with an Assembly committee to discuss increase in the minimum support price for paddy has provided fodder to the BJD to step up its attack on the Centre.

"We have written to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) repeatedly for fixing an appointment with the Prime Minister. The PMO has not responded to our request," food supplies and consumer welfare minister Surjya Narayan Patro said.

Union minister of state for agriculture and farmers' welfare Gajendra Singh Sekhawat said: "There is no proposal to change the formula for determining the MSPs at present."

He has stated that the MSPs, fixed by the Centre for mandated crops, provide adequate returns over the all-India average cost of production. Minister of state for agriculture and farmers' welfare Parshottam Rupala, too, said: "Farmers are free to sell their produce to government agencies or in the open market."

Agriculture minister Pradeep Maharathy said the two central ministers's statements had exposed the real face of the Centre. "The production cost of paddy per quintal comes around Rs 1,443, and we have, therefore, demanded increase in the MSP to Rs 2,390. But, the Centre has closed its door on farmers."

BJD's youth wing leader and former food supplies minister Sanjay Das Burma said: "During the 2014 elections, the BJP had promised to increase the MSP by one-and-a-half times. But now, the Modi government has raised the MSP by Rs 80 per quintal, and it's a mockery that the Centre is saying that the farmer is making profits."

Congress leader Narasingha Mishra said the decision not to revise the prices was "an act of betrayal".

The BJP, on the other hand, said the BJD was playing politics over the MSP issue. "The decision applies to all over the country and how could the BJD accuse the Centre of being partisan towards Odisha," asked BJP vice-president Sameer Mohanty.

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