Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 13:
Farming activities have taken a beating post the demonetization move by the Union government over a month ago, District Collectors apprised Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today.
Amid reports of rural populace being the most affected after scrapping of notes, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today held a review meeting with District Collectors of Ganjam, Cuttack, Sambalpur, and Bolangir to take stock of the situation via video conferencing.
“As there is shortage of Rs 100 and Rs 500 notes in banks, the farming activities have been badly affected in the state. The farmers are finding it difficult to pay crop insurance premium, wages, and buy seeds. At some places, the farmers are hitting the hurdle in online cash transfer,” the bureaucrats apprised the Chief Minister.
As this is the harvest season, the ryots are running out of options to pay wages to the labourers due to shortage of currency, they pointed out.
Expressing concern over the tight situation, Naveen directed the top officials of Reserve Bank of India and other banks to make available Rs 100 and Rs 500 notes in the rural areas so as to minimize their inconveniences.
The Chief Minister asked Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi to study the impact of demonetization in rural areas and famres on a regular basis and take appropriate steps. Besides, Patnaik asked Padhi to do a review on paddy procurement fortnightly.
“I will certainly draw the attention of Union government on how to improve the situation and farmers are not affected,” Patnaik added.
Notably, the government has disbursed a special drought assistance of Rs 72 crore @ 100 per quintal of paddy to 2, 13, 494 out of 2, 28, 030 affected farmers during 2015-16 kharif season.
The Chief Minister directed the Collectors to pay the remaining amount to the remainder of the farmers by December 17.
In addition to this, Chief Minister directed the Collectors to disburse crop insurance to affected farmers by December 20. An amount to the tune of Rs 1124 crore has been transferred to the bank accounts of around seven lakh farmers as of now.
It is worth mentioning that the state government had sanctioned Rs 1776 crore as crop insurance to affected farmers for 2015 kharif season aiming to provide relief to 11.61 lakh farmers.
The Chief Minister also advised the officials to create awareness at block level so that maximum farmers could avail agriculture loan at an interest rate of as low as one percent.
Excise and Cooperation Minister Dr Damodar Rout, Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy, Revenue Minister Bijayshree Routray, Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, Development Commissioner R Balakrishnan and senior officials of concerned departments were present.