BHUBANESWAR: The BJP on Monday lashed out at the State government for its failure to keep the promise to create irrigation potential for at least 35 per cent of cultivable land in each block.
Coming down heavily on the ruling BJD for sitting pretty when a drought is becoming increasingly imminent and farmers getting desperate due to scanty rainfall, BJP State president Samir Mohanty said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik seems less concerned about the farmers.
Even after BJD being in power for 21 years, the party has not been able to increase irrigation coverage beyond 35 per cent in more than 60 blocks of the State. The BJD government has not completed a single irrigation project started during the Congress regime, he claimed.
The government claim of meeting the target in 251 blocks has been disputed by the Opposition parties in the Assembly. The BJP and Congress have been claiming that the irrigation coverage in Balangir district is only 3 percent. “The BJD in its 2014 election manifesto had promised to create additional irrigation potential for 10 lakh hectare. The achievement so far is 18,350 hectare. This is a treachery to the farmers,” Mohanty said. The Parbati Giri Mega Lift Irrigation project which was announced with much fanfare is still a non-starter, he said.
The BJP president urged the State government to set up a task force to study the situation and take measures on war footing to save the crops from drought. “The government should immediately mobilise secretaries and senior officers to all the districts for assessing the crop condition and chalk out a plan in consultation with the farmers”, Mohanty said.
The BJP has constituted four teams that will visit the drought-prone areas to make an assessment of the ground situation. Kalahandi MP Basant Panda, State Krushak Morcha president Pradeep Purohit, former minister Manmohan Samal and BJP Chief Whip in Assembly Mohan Majhi will lead a team each. The BJP will decide the next course of action after receiving reports from these teams, he added.