Criticising the State Government for neglecting the farmers and agriculture sector, the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) on Monday demanded that families of farmers committing suicide should be given compensation of Rs 20 lakh and a job each.
The Congress will sign memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with farmers’ associations on a priority basis for their all-round development instead of with industrialists and mine owners, OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik said, adding that his party will never go back on its promises.
The Congress, which concluded its six-day second phase Parivartan Yatra at Atabira in Bargarh district, demanded that all farmers should be given identity cards and covered by insurance.
Niranjan demanded that the State Government should pay a bonus of Rs 300 per quintal above the minimum support price (MSP) to the farmers and also pay compensation within seven days of crop damage due to natural calamities.
The OPCC chief said the State will never have shortage of funds if Central funds for development projects are utilised in a proper manner and the farm sector is given priority.
Stating that land under irrigation should be raised to 75 per cent during the next 10 years, Niranjan said Lower Suktel, Lower Indra and Ong irrigation projects should be completed in time. The canal system in different parts of the State should also be repaired, he said.
Farm loans be provided at an interest of 2 per cent, Niranjan said, adding that loan should be waived if crop loss is reported. Agro industries, opening of more sugar mills and fruit processing plants will be the focus of the Congress, he said. More cold storage be opened to promote horticulture, he added.
Niranjan demanded that an agriculture university should be opened by the State Government in Western Odisha and each block should have a soil testing laboratory. Alleging that the State Government is promoting industries at the cost of the farmers, the OPCC president demanded that water from Hirakud dam and other reservoirs should be used only for agriculture. The OPCC president warned that neglect of farmers by the State Government will not be tolerated for long. The farmers will punish the Government for neglecting them and throw it out of power, he said.