If last week, the Lok Sabha expressed concerns over Chennai floods, the opposition parties tore into the government for drought like situation in many states across the country.
Congress accused the NDA government giving the farmers a short shrift, and demanded that electricity and farm loans be waived off. Leading the attack from the opposition side, Jyotiraditya Scindia said farmers across the country are facing tough situation...the bank loan and electricity bills of the farmers should be waived off. If you want to learn how to waive off debt, you should learn from my leader Sonia Gandhi, who waived of Rs 72000 crore.”
He hit out at the government for cutting down on NREGA funds saying the scheme has benefited the farmers and others as revealed by the latest government reports.
MPS said 50 per cent of the country has been hit by drought, Scindia said, adding, it has affected 18 states. This is the second consecutive year when the country received deficient monsoon.
Targeting the government, the Congress leader said it is maintaining silence over the sufferings of farmers like it did over the issue of "intolerance". Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh stood up to counter Congress’ charge saying they should refrain spreading so much “lies.”
Scindia also raised the issue of farmers suicide saying the government had turned a build eye tro their plight. He accused the government of being a “suit boot ki sarkar.” He claimed that about 11,700 farmers have committed suicide during the NDA rule.
BJP's Janardan Mishra who spoke after Scindia however listed schemes which could help the farmers. He suggested that the government should call a meeting state governments and make assessment of the drought situation.
TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay too expressed concern over the drought situation in the states including parts of West Bengal. He, however, did not attack the government so much. My leader and Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee is coming to Delhi to meet PM Narendra Modi on these issues,” TMC MP said.
"The government should rise to the occasion with a transparent outlook... and positive foresightedness," he said, adding that time has come for giving hope to the affected people and states. Noting that no special package has been announced for West Bengal, Bandyopadhyay said the state is facing a huge financial crisis. The Centre should be intervene and the waiver of bank loans extended to farmers should be taken on priority, he added.
Urging the Centre to take steps, BJD's B Mahtab said over 50 per cent of the districts are affected by drought and the situation is serious. "There is a agrarian crisis... There is great problem because of drought. Drought is like a slow poison," he noted.
Taking a swipe at the Centre over the amount of relief funds released to states during times of calamities, Mahtab said a decision on funds depends on the Finance Ministry.
Everything related to drought should not be left to the Agriculture Ministry only as it has only "little say" in terms of funds to be released, the BJD member said.
CPM MP M B Rajesh claimed farmers are not getting adequate compensation for crop failures while consumers are forced to pay more than five times the minimum support price for pulses. He alleged that "the government and its corporate friends are loving a good drought... The corporate friends are making good profit"
Rajesh took a dig at Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh saying that despite being a nice person, his "wrong ideology and policy" had forced him to claim that "failure of love affairs" was a reason for farmer suicides.