Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 13:
Under attack from various quarters, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) would embark on ‘Chasi Samavesh’ in western Odisha on November 19 to salvage its image tarnished by the opposition over farmer suicides in the state.
The ruling party would organise ‘Chasi Samavesh’ (farmers’ convention) at Sohela in Bargarh district where Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik would participate in the congregation, party sources said.
“We are going to organise a huge farmers’ samavesh on November 19 where lakhs of farmers would participate in it. The Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik would address the concerns of the farmers. The Opposition is misleading people. They are doing politics over farmer deaths,” senior BJD leader Surya Narayan Patro said in a press conference held here today.
“It is not a farmers’ samavesh. It is a BJD workers’ samavesh. It is not going to help the cause of the farmers,” Congress leader Bhakta Das said.
In the recent past, the principal opposition parties—Congress and BJP– have organised several rallies and padyatras to highlight the failure of the state government to curb the series of farmer suicides in the state due to loan burden and crop loss arising out of deficient rainfall this monsoon.
As per government’s eye estimate reports, over 33 percent crop loss has been reported in 139 blocks in 21 districts in the state.
On October 29, special relief commissioner (SRC) GVV Sharma had said that the state government had received inquiry reports from collectors on 41 farmer deaths and the reports were under examination. However, unofficial figures put the toll over 100.
It may be recalled that the state government last month announced to waive water cess on farmers in the drought-hit areas in the state. Besides, it had also recently announced to reschedule agricultural loans by extending the time limit for repaying crop loans.
Besides, the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had directed officials to begin disbursing subsidy on agricultural inputs to farmers in drought-affected areas by November 10. The chief minister also directed officials to stop collecting crop loans provided by cooperative societies in drought-affected areas. The commercial banks have also been requested to take steps accordingly for the benefit of farmers.