The Biju Janata Dal on Friday attacked the BJP government at the Centre over farmers’ distress due to low pricing of their produce in Odisha and announced that it would hold a mega rally here on January 8 to press its demand for increasing the minimum support price of paddy.

At a press conference addressed by leaders of the Biju Janata Dal’s peasant wing here, the Naveen Patnaik-led party said the demand for increase in paddy MSP is in line with Swaminathan Committee’s recommendation and should have been acted upon earlier as committed by the BJP in the run-up to the 2014 parliamentary election.

Highlighting the “plight” of farmers in Odisha, the BJD demanded that the Centre take immediate action on its unfulfilled promise made in 2014 on increasing the minimum support price (MSP).

The party also announced that it is going to organise a mega rally, to be addressed by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, at the Talkatora Stadium on January 8. All BJD MPs, MLAs and senior leaders will participate in the rally, along with a number of farmers who will reach Delhi on a special train.

The objective of the rally would be to highlight the misery the farmers of the state have been facing due to the apathy of the government, the BJD leaders said.

The BJD’s efforts are aimed at doubling farmers’ income on a priority basis, they said.

Odisha’s Minister for Health, Family Welfare, Information and PR, Pratap Jena said, “MSP is not only the key distress alleviating device, but also an important tool for income generation to the farmers.”

“It is very unfortunate that like the last few years, this year also the proposal of state government of Odisha for hike in MSP of paddy has been ignored,” by the government of India, he said.

The state government has proposed to fix the minimum support price of paddy (common variety) at ₹2,930 per quintal, up from the ₹1,750, for the current Kharif marketing season, Biju Krushak Janata Dal president Prasanna Acharya said.

The central government has announced the MSP for common Paddy at ₹1,750 per quintal for the current Kharif marketing season without giving due consideration to the request from the Odisha government, he said.

As the MSP fixed by government for paddy is not commensurate with the rising costs of inputs such as seeds, fertilisers, manure, micro-nutrient, irrigation charges and hiring charges for farm machinery, the farmers of Odisha are deprived of getting a reasonable price for their produce, the BJD said in a statement.