Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 11:
“Those who are elected to the office hold precedence over the ones selected to office”. It might hold true in every democratic administration, but not in Naveen Patnaik’s Odisha.
This hideous state of governance in the state was out for public display as Cooperation Minister Damodar Rout today rued that the senior officers do not listen to the instructions of elected representatives affecting decision making.
Rout said so while explaining the slow pace of cold storage construction in the state in the wake of price fluctuation of potato in the market.
“We had a plan to construct 10 cold storages this year. The Department, so far, has only been able to issue tender call notices. The work is yet to begin. We had planned to take steps to make defunct cold storages functional again. However, the Cooperative Registrar doesn’t take any step. I have tried explaining and persuading him with no luck. I am not able to do anything about it,” said Rout expressing his helplessness.
Interestingly, as per information provided by Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy, the government had a plan to construct 112 cold storages within three years; however, in the first year, it managed to build only six.
With potato prices skyrocketing every now and then, the attitude of bureaucrats and lack of coordination between departments have made corrective measures a lost cause.
The cold storages are not the only area of failure. The ministers are twisting facts about potato production too making the entire ‘Potato Mission’ nothing but a sham.
While Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjay Dasburma on Wednesday admitted that potato production has gone down in the state, the Agriculture Minister today claimed that potato production has actually gone up.
“We had cultivated potato in 15,800 hectares of land last year. This year, it has gone up to 25,270 hectares. This is a straight increase of 10,000 hectares. This means, more potatoes have been produced in the state this year,” said Maharathy speaking to reporters today.
“Potato production has gone down by 30 percent in Odisha and West Bengal because of lack of cold this year. That is the reason for price fluctuation in the market,” Dasburma had said on Wednesday.