Raigarh: Incensed over a steep fall in prices of tomatoes, over a hundred farmers in Jashpur district dumped their produce on national highway and staged a ‘chakka jam’ protest today.
The farmers alleged the “syndicate” of local middlemen and traders was not ready to purchase tomatoes even at 50 paise per kg.
The protest, wherein tonnes of tomatoes were dumped, at Indira Chowk in Pathalgaon town led to disruption of vehicular traffic.
The protesters withdrew after they were pacified by the district officials.
According to Jashpur Collector Priyanka Shukla, the high production of tomatoes in the district this year has led to the fall in the demand and prices in local markets.
“We are looking at all the options to ensure better market to farmers for their produce. Prospects are also being searched in market at Bargarh region of Odisha, which is close to Jashpur,” the collector said.
Shukla ruled out scrapping of high denomination currency as the reason for nosediving of prices.
The collector has directed the municipality not to recover local taxes from tomato growing farmers.
According to the opposition Congress, non-availability of cash in the wake of scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes has dented the prices of the kitchen staple, causing hardship to poor farmers who are largely dependent on tomatoes for their livelihood in this season.
In a memorandum addressed to President Pranab Mukherjee, local Congress leader Pawan Agrawal has demanded that support price be declared for tomatoes and requested that state government be directed to procure tomatoes on lines of paddy.
Agrawal has also demanded setting up of a tomato sauce manufacturing unit in Jashpur, eradication of the role of middlemen and to ensure smooth supply of new currency notes in the market.