Congress, BJP walk out, demand more help for farmers

Opposition Congress and BJP walked out of the Orissa Assembly over the issue of the state`s distressed farmers, who suffered massive crop loss due to unseasonal rain during harvesting period.

Bhubaneswar: Opposition Congress and BJP
walked out of the Orissa Assembly over the issue of the
state`s distressed farmers, who suffered massive crop loss due
to unseasonal rain during harvesting period.

Demanding a white paper on the "rare calamity", the
Opposition said the state government`s acceptance that the
crop loss was massive and farmers were badly hit by untimely
rain was hardly satisfying and the state should instead
provide adequate compensation at the earliest to the affected
families.

Assuaging the opposition misgivings, Revenue and Disaster
Management Minister S N Patro said, "We have taken the matter
very seriously. That is why the Chief Minister (Naveen
Patnaik) rushed to the affected areas and had direct
interaction with the farmers."

Patro`s assurance that the Government would announce a
package for the affected farmers in a day or two failed to
pacify the opposition members who dubbed the BJD government
as "anti-farmer" and "pro-industrialist."

With the opposition claiming that farmers would not
benefit if compensation is fixed according to provision of the
relief code, Patro said the state government had already
written to the Centre to raise the amount for crop damage from
maximum of Rs 6,000 per hectare to at least Rs 10,000 per
hectare.

He said the state government also sought certain
relaxations to enable affected farmers to sell their paddy at
the minimum support price (MSP) which was fixed at Rs 1,000
per quintal.

Opposition leader Bhupinder Singh demanded waiver of
agricultural loans, stoppage of loan recovery process and
adequate subsidy for the next rabi crop.

Demanding a white paper on the situation, BJP`s
Jaynarayan Mishra said the farmers` problem should be given
maximum importance.

Leader of NCP legislature party Amar Satpathy described
the situation as "grim" as lakhs of families had lost their
food bowl.

PTI

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