Bhubaneswar: This is not the time for blame game or fault finding, said Union Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat here today.
“This is not the time to blame one another or find lapses. This is the time to hold the hand of the farmer who is in distress and extend help and support to make his life better. I will be visiting affected areas in Bargarh district for two days. I will meet affected farmers and family members of those who have committed suicide,” said the Union Minister to reporters after holding a preliminary review meeting with officials of the State government on drought and pest menace.
“Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Director General will visit Ganjam district. After completing on-spot-survey of the situation we will hold discussions,” he added.
The State government urged the visiting Union Minister to hike agriculture input subsidy by 50% to affected farmers.
“Presently, affected farmers are getting compensation of Rs 6,800 per hectare in rain-fed areas. We requested him to raise this amount by at least 50%. Since we are following Government of India guidelines this can be changed by them. Even if we want to revive lift irrigation (LI) points to provide irrigation facilities to the farmers, it’s not possible on our part because there are no provisions for such mitigation in SDRF. We have written to them to give us powers to repair and revive LI points at the time of drought,” informed Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi to reporters.
“We apprised the Union Minister and the Central team about which areas have been affected due to pest attack and what steps have been taken. We told them about the details of the package announced by the Chief Minister for the affected farmers. We requested Government of India to help us in undertaking measures for pest surveillance, opening of insecticide laboratory here and sinking of more deep bore wells and deep tube wells for bringing more areas under irrigation, etc for a permanent solution to the issue,” stated Secretary Agriculture Sourabh Garg after the meeting.