Reported by Chinmaya Dehury/Swetaparna Mohanty
Bhubaneswar, Aug 11
Realising that it is on a sticky wicket on the issue of neglect of farmers in the state in the run up to the next elections, BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today asked the newly constituted farmers’ committee and party members to highlight the initiatives taken by the state government for the welfare of farmers in the state.
“The farmers’ committee will popularise the welfare initiatives of the state government for the farmers. Benefits in the agriculture sector would be highlighted in the coming days,” said Patnaik addressing the first workshop of the farmers’ committee.
The ruling party has constituted a nine-member farmers’ committee headed by former agriculture minister Pradip Maharathy to popularise the welfare programmes of the state government in the agriculture sector.
The Chief Minister said the government is soon going to introduce a new scheme – Biju Krushak Kalyan Yojana (BKKY) – to provide health insurance cover to farmers, which would benefit nearly two crore people in the state.
Patnaik sought to corner the Central government on the issue of fertiliser prices saying; “It seems the Centre has no control over fixing of fertiliser price, which has badly hit agricultural growth in the state. Farmers have sustained more loss due to the rising prices of fertilisers,” said Patnaik.
The Chief Minister also said his government will oppose the food security bill proposed by UPA government, if the state receives a lesser quantity of rice than its current entitlement.
BJD vice-president and Finance minister Prasanna Acharya said the state government has made a budgetary provision of 27 per cent for agricultural sector, which is a record set by Naveen Patnaik government in the country.
Agriculture minister Debiprasad Mishra said the government has introduced a new agricultural policy, which provides loans to farmers with minimum interest. The policy will immensely help the growth of farm and allied sector in the state benefiting farmers.
The Congress termed it as a political gimmick of BJD government to woo the farmers ahead of elections in the state.
“After deceiving them for many years, the BJD government has suddenly woken up to the woes of the farmers, who are spending sleepless nights for the anti-farmer policy of the government. The farmers will not accept it as they are always with Congress,” said Congress MP Pradip Majhi.