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BJP, BJD stage rival demonstrations in Odisha

BHUBANESWAR, June 29: The ruling Biju Jata Dal on Wednesday staged a demonstration over “central neglect”, while the Odisha unit of the BJP held rival rallies over an attack on two Union ministers last week. While the Bharatiya Jata Party (BJP) held demonstrations in all blocks protesting the attack on the Union ministers in Bargarh, the leaders of the BJD including ministers staged a dhar in front of Raj Bhavan demanding a hike in the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy. “With rising cost of inputs like fertilisers, labour and pesticides, the farmers in the state have been losing out in getting their due with respect to their produce. However, the Centre has increased the MSP of paddy by Rs 60 only despite repeated demands to increase it further,” said Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy. He said while the Odisha government had recommended MSP at Rs 2,500 per quintal of paddy for the Kharif marketing season 2016-17, the Centre has fixed at Rs 1,470 per quintal for the common variety of paddy. (ians)