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BJP launches satyagraha near Assembly; laughable says BJD

BHUBANESWAR: With the by-poll in Odisha’s agrarian Padampur assembly constituency drawing near and the BJD and BJP dubbing each other as “anti-farmer”, the saffron brigade Friday launched an indefinite ‘satyagraha’ near the state Assembly highlighting farmers’ issues.

Odisha BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said the ‘satyagraha’ has been launched against different issues affecting the farmers like farm assistance, crop insurance, supply of fertilizers, seeds and others. The ruling BJD rejected BJP’s allegations of BJP and called it ”laughable” and BJP should instead shift its ‘satyagraha’ venue to the Parliament.

Holding the BJD government responsible for farmers not getting the benefit of crop insurance under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), Harichandan said the ‘satyagraha’ will be extended to other parts of the state if it did not act.

“The crop insurance claim settlement was delayed as the state government did not support the crop cutting report at the proper time and the unholy nexus of some officials with the insurance companies,” Harichandan claimed.

Crop cutting is done during natural calamities and the reports on it shows the actual loss due to the disaster.

The state is witness to allegations and counter allegations over the delay in the payment of crop insurance claims to farmers across the state, particularly in Padampur in Bargarh district where voting is scheduled to be held on December 5.

The by-poll in Padampur assembly seat is necessitated following the death of BJD MLA Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha on October 3. “The state government cannot escape its responsibilities as the PMFBY is a central scheme,” the BJP leader said.

He held the state government responsible for not being helpful to farmers on many occasions and claimed that the Potato Mission had failed totally in the state. Harichandan said Odisha government has given only Rs 4000 per farmer though it had earlier announced that it would pay Rs 10,000 as agriculture assistance to small and nominal farmers every year under its KALIA scheme, which was announced before the 2019 polls. The rest Rs 6,000 was given from the Pradhan Mantri Krushak Nidhi Yojana, he alleged. The BJP leaders also claimed that about 90 per cent of the fertilisers available in the markets in Odisha are duplicate.

”Farmers don’t get loans on time. They are at the mercy of middlemen for resources, supply of seeds, and fertilisers. The BJD government doesn’t even have a database of the farmers,” Harichandan alleged.

Earlier, senior BJP leader and union minister Dharmendra Pradhan urged his counterpart in the agriculture and farmers’ welfare departments, Narendra Singh Tomar to order a probe into irregularities in the implementation of the PMFBY in the state, particularly in Bargarh district’s Padampur area.

Rejecting BJP’s allegations, BJD MP Sasmit Patra said ”It is laughable. The BJP should instead shift its ‘satyagraha’ venue to Parliament and urge its party at the Centre to give up its anti-farmer attitude. It should seek justice for farmers of Odisha”.

He said the BJP MLAs had unanimously supported the resolution along with all MLAs of BJD and Congress in Odisha Vidhan Sabha in 2018 to increase the MSP of paddy to Rs 2930. ”The BJP should ask the Centre to implement the resolution,” Patra said.

Dubbbing the saffron party as ”anti farmer”, Patra, who is an MP, questioned the status of the BJP’s announcement to increase the MSP by 1.5 times of production cost in its election manifesto and the Swaminathan Commission report, whose recommendations it had promised to implement.

The BJD leader alleged that the BJP was ”simply attempting to mislead the people”. He also accused the Centre of attempting to stall the implementation of the state government’s KALIA scheme.

The scheme is a package for farmers’ welfare and stands for Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation.

Tomar has cleared the procedure for settlement of the crop insurance claims, while Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced a Rs 200 crore package for the payment of input subsidy for the drought affected farmers.


Source: Press Trust of India

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