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CM to address farmers at Mati Utsav on Feb 9 in Burdwan

CM to address farmers at Mati Utsav on Feb 9 in Burdwan
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Kolkata: Amid countrywide protest against the Centre's contentious farm laws, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will address Mati Utsav—a state government programme for the agrarian society – on February 9 at Mati Tirtha in Burdwan.

The Chief Minister is expected to raise her voice against "the Centre's indifference" towards farmers besides distributing benefits and giving awards to farmers at the programme.

This comes when Banerjee has already slammed the Modi government's Union Budget, in post COVID situation, stating it to be an "anti-farmer Budget" with no mention of minimum support price for crops to ensure financial security to the farmers.

Mati Utsav becomes more crucial as Banerjee and her party, Trinamool Congress (TMC), have been continuously protesting against the farm laws. The TMC Chairperson again interacted with agitating farmers at Singhu border over phone when MPs of her party including Derek O'Brien visited the place extending support to the demonstration demanding restoration of the "rights of farmers".

Banerjee had also criticised the Centre by accusing it of adversely affecting the country's federal structure for taking away the state's power in controlling the prices of essential commodities.

Though the state tops in rice production, the Centre neglects farmers in Bengal by procuring bare minimum 69,000 MT paddy. The state government, on other hand, procures 45 lakh MT. She is likely to raise this issue at the programme.

The state government needs to spend Rs 31 per quintal for processing of paddy after procuring it from farmers at minimum support price to distribute rice free of cost among 10 crore people of Bengal through the public distribution system.

When contacted, the state Agriculture minister Asish Banerjee said: "I along with the Chief Minister's Advisor on Agriculture Pradip Majumdar will visit Mati Tirtha on Wednesday to carry out a thorough inspection and hold meetings with concerned officials before the visit of the Chief Minister on February 9."

Mati Utsav was the brainchild of the Chief Minister. It is organised every year to mark the growth of the agriculture sector in Bengal. In 2016, the permanent venue – Mati Tirtha – for the same has come up near Kalna Road. Earlier, it used to take place at Lalbaba Ashram Ground in Panagarh.

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