Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 23:
Hundreds of angry farmers today blocked the national highway in Odisha’s Bargarh and held a massive demonstration in Bhawanipatna protesting against government apathy in providing drought compensation, insurance and bonus in two separate incidents.
In Bargarh, the farmers blocked National Highway 6 by burning tyres on it. The blockade was lifted after district administration officials including the Tehsildar reached out to the agitators and promised action on their demands.
The Bargarh local farmers’ association said that it will press ahead with its agitation until the affected farmers of the district are given the insurance, Rs100 per quintal paddy bonus promised by the Chief Minister and assessment of the drought-like situation in the district this year.
“We have been waiting for the insurance since more than year now. The farmers are frustrated. The Chief Minister announced a bonus of Rs 100 in the Sohela convention held here in Bargarh. However, the farmers did not receive it. That is why we are here on the streets,” said Prafulla Nayak, president of the association.
“The administration, the government and the farmers are on one side. The insuring companies are on the other side. Talks with the companies are on at government level. There are certain technical issues. The insurance amount will be released if the farmers meet the required criteria,” said Bargarh Tehsildar Jyoti Shankar Mohapatra.
Apart from Bargarh, farmers held a large rally in Bhawanipatna under the banner of Kishan Khet Mazdoor Congress demanding fulfillment of their seven point charter of demands that included assessment of the drought-like situation in the district, drought-hit status for Sadar block and school fee waiver for children of farmers.
The farmers later submitted a memorandum to the Governor through the ABDO.
“The farmers are not getting the necessary input subsidy. Out of the Rs 40 crore that the farmers of district were supposed to receive, Rs 11 crore is yet to be disbursed,” accused Kishan Khet Mazdoor Congress President Sachinanda Mahakud.
Speaking on the issue, Ruling Biju Janata Dal Spokesperson Samir Dash today said that the government is aware of the issue and working on it.
“The deserving farmers are already receiving the input subsidy. However, there are certain complications when it comes to the sharecroppers. The government is aware of the issue and is working on it,” said Dash.