Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 19:
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today launched a sit in agitation in the Odisha capital in protest against state government’s failure to tackle drought situation and arrest farmer suicides.
The saffron party launched the 12-hour agitation beginning at 9 am in front of Raj Bhawan here. The participants carrying placards alleged the ruling BJD of doing politics on dead farmers.
“BJP leaders, families of deceased farmers and drought-affected farmers who have incurred huge crop loss have joined the agitation. It’s condemnable that the ruling party is doing politics over the farmers’ suicide issue. We have been demanding complete waiver of loans of the affected farmers. The state government hasn’t done any survey of drought-hit areas. We deamand the government to declare the affected districts as dought-hit based on ground survey,” BJP leader Bhrugu Buxipatra said.
While addressing the farmers’ convention at Sohela, BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik launched an attack on opposition BJP and Congress for organising press conferences and shedding crorodile tears over farmer suicides.
“They are politicising the farmers’ deaths. They are weakening the morale of the farmers. We are with the farmers and will always be with them,” Patnaik said.
In reply to this, BJP state unit president KV Singhdeo said, “the ruling party is doing politics over farmer suicides. It was not ‘Chasi Samavesh’, it was BJD Samavesh.”
PCC president Prasad Harichandan said: “People were brought to the farmers’ rally. The chief minister hasn’t met the family members of the deceased farmers’ yet. Huge money has been spent on the convention. Instead, they should have given the amount to the affected farmers. Why has the government introduced farmers insurance yet? Around 9, 000 lift irrigation (LI) points are defunt in the state.”
Senior party leaders Bijay Mohapatra, KV Singhdeo, Pratap Sarangi, Biswabhusan Harichandan, Manmohan Samal, Prithviraj Harichandan, Rudra Narayan Pani and Bhrugu Buxipatra were among others who participated in the dharna.
The leaders paid their respect to the departed souls and expressed solidarity with the family members of the deceased farmers.
Notably, over 33 percent crop loss has been reported in 139 blocks in 21 districts in the state as per government’s eye estimate reports. Following this, the government announced water cess waiver for farmers in the drought-hit areas in the state. Besides, it also announced to reschedule agricultural loans by extending the time limit for repaying crop loans.