Congress plans stir against changes in Chhattisgarh govt paddy policy

 The main opposition Congress in Chhattisgarh plans to stage an "economic blockade" to protest against the amendments introduced by the ruling BJP in the state's paddy procurement policy.

Raipur: The main opposition Congress in Chhattisgarh plans to stage an "economic blockade" to protest against the amendments introduced by the ruling BJP in the state's paddy procurement policy.

"The economic blockade will be held on Nov. 1 across the state. A high-level meeting of (party) office bearers from Raipur and Durg will be held tomorrow to chalk out the strategy," Congress spokesperson Shailesh Nitin Trivedi told PTI.

During the proposed day-long agitation, no vehicles would be allowed to ply on national highways and inter-state roads, said Trivedi.

Chhattisgarh government recently decided to limit the official procurement of paddy to 10 quintals per acre and asked co-operative societies to implement the change as the process begins from Dec. 1.

The decision drew sharp criticism from Congress as well as several farmers' associations which claimed that the move would cause huge losses to farmers since paddy production in the state varies between 15 quintals and 20 quintals per acre.

The majority of people in the state rely on agriculture for their livelihood and the new paddy procurement directive would critically affect the financial condition of farmers, he added.

Adjustments in the schedule of procurement, too, may aggravate the farmers' worries since they do not have proper facilities for storing their paddy for long periods.

Trivedi said in this regard that although the Chhattisgarh government had last year begun the paddy procurement process on Oct. 21, this year it has pushed back the starting date to December 1.

He also accused the Raman Singh-led BJP government of cheating farmers by not fulfilling its pre-poll promise of giving Rs 2,100 as the minimum support price for a quintal of paddy.

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