BHUBANESWAR: As the burning of paddy fields by farmers spread to new areas, Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout on Saturday said the farmers, who set fire to their crops, will not get any compensation.
The farmers, who have suffered more than 33 percent crop loss due to pest attack or any natural calamity, will get compensation but those who burnt their paddy fields will not get any assistance, the Minister told mediapersons as two more farmers from Kalahandi and Rayagada districts burnt their crops after failing to save it from pest attack. “How can they be given compensation? If there is no crop in the fields, how can officials estimate the loss,” he asked.
Even as the report of the district collector on suicide by Brunda Sahu reached the Government, the Minister said an investigation is required to know why the farmer took the ultimate step. Besides, the inquiry will find out whether the agricultural land belonged to him or he was a share-cropper. The Government will also have to check whether he had taken loan, he said and added that no farmer faces financial issues during this period. “They may be in distress but that doesn’t mean that they have nothing to eat,” he said.
The Minister said the Government has taken steps to prevent farmers from taking loans from private money lenders. The State Government provides a loan to them without any mortgage and at a very low interest rate, he said.
However, the statement of the Minister evoked strong reaction from the opposition political parties and Preeti, daughter of Brunda Sahu, the farmer of Kalapani in Bargarh district who burnt his paddy field and committed suicide next day. Describing the Minister’s statement as irresponsible, she said her father committed suicide as he knew that the Government will not help in any case. She demanded resignation of the Minister for making such an insensitive statement.
Burning of paddy fields by farmers shows their utter helplessness, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Narasingh Mishra said and added the State Government will have to find out a way to help them instead of saying no assistance can be given. “Otherwise, it will be disastrous,” he said. State unit president of the BJP Basant Panda demanded resignation of the Minister for making such a statement.
BJP wants Dama’s head
Bhubaneswar:With the number of distressed farmers setting their standing paddy crops hit by pest attack on fire and cases of suicide due to crop loss mounting, the State BJP on Saturday demanded resignation of Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout for his insensitive remarks on farmers.