AJP to hold ‘satyagraha’ against low paddy procurement in Assam

Guwahati, Aug 18 (PTI) The opposition Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) on Wednesday said it will organise a ‘satyagraha’ across the state to protest against the low procurement of rice by government agencies such as the FCI.

Addressing a press conference here, AJP president Lurinjyoti Gogoi slammed the Food Corporation of India (FCI) for cutting down its paddy procurement in the state, leaving the farmers in huge distress amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After a new general manager joined the FCI here, the procurement has gone down significantly compared to earlier years. Even the state government agencies are not purchasing rice at this moment. When the farmers are already in problems due to the pandemic, this is a double whammy for them,” he added.

A new general manager for the Assam region of the FCI took charge last month at its office in Guwahati.

“Instead of procuring locally, FCI supplied 24 lakh metric tonnes of rice to Assam and the state paid Rs 1,500 crore only in the name of transporting that rice,” Gogoi said.

He further alleged that there is also a lobby, which is saying that Assam rice contains high carbohydrates and is not of good quality.

“This is a well-planned deep-rooted conspiracy to destroy the rice variety of Assam and bring the hybrid seed from outside. Assam had once 30,000 varieties of rice and it has come down to around 1,000 now,” Gogoi said.

In order to protest against the low procurement of rice from Assam, the party will hold satyagraha in all the districts of the state on Thursday, he said.

“We demand that the government agencies increase their procurement from Assam farmers to support them in such bad times. Also, we demand the government to give assistance to the farmers in view of drought-like situations in the state,” Gogoi said.

On July 14, the Assam government had informed the Assembly that the FCI did not fulfil its commitment on paddy procurement in the state and it would try to “enforce” the organisation to purchase from the farmers in the future.