Bhubaneswar, Feb 20 (PTI) Rejecting the Odisha government’s plea to refrain from the strike call on February 21, farmers’ body Navnirman Krishak Sangathan (NNKS) Wednesday said it would go ahead with the agitation without troubling the high school exam schedule that begins the day after.

The dawn-to-dusk 12-hour bandh by the farmers on Feb 21 demanding price, pension and prestige will not be a hindrance to smooth conduct of the matriculation examination.

The authorities already made it clear that question papers will reach the exam centres on Feb 22 morning,” NNKS Convenor Akshay Kumar told reporters here.

Kumar said NNKS, Odisha’s leading farmers’ body, has given a 12-hour strike call on Thursday after the state government ignored their demands.

The NNKS has been threatened by the state government to call off the strike in the name of the matric examination.

The police forces have been deployed across the state to take action against the agitators during the strike. However, people of Odisha will never tolerate dictatorship,” Kumar said.

Director General of Police R P Sharma said elaborate security arrangements have been made in view of the strike.

Finance Minister S B Behera said that the strike will affect public life in the state and also the matriculation examination next day.

The Utkal University has postponed all examinations scheduled on Thursday in view of the NNKS strike.

“It is for information of all concerned that all the examinations under Utkal University scheduled to be held on February 21 is postponed due to all Odisha strike by Naba Nirman Krushak Sanghathan,” a statement issued by the university’s Controller of Examinations said.

The rescheduled date of the examinations will be notified later, it added.

Meanwhile, opposition BJP and Congress have extended support to the farmers’ protest.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.