BHUBANESWAR: The Opposition Congress and BJP on Saturday came down heavily on the State Government in the Assembly for the delay in providing crop insurance to farmers who were affected in the last year’s drought.
The issue cropped up during discussion on the admissibility of an adjournment motion notice given by Congress and BJP members. Making a statement in response, Cooperation Minister Damodar Rout admitted that there has been delay in providing insurance amount to the farmers and assured that arrangements are being made for payment within two weeks even as Opposition Congress walked out of the House in protest.
Stating that the delay was mostly due to contradictory reports by different agencies on crop loss, the Minister said a committee had to be set up by the State Government to assess the actual crop damage in different districts.
The Minister said basing on the report of the committee, a report was submitted to the Centre about the crop loss on September 3, 2016 for release of its share of insurance. The State Government is ready with `800 crore for the purpose and as soon as the Centre releases its share of `800 crore, the farmers will get their insurance due, he said. Rout said there was contradiction in the reports filed by the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) and the Statistical Bureau. When the SRC report said there was 100 per cent crop loss in Balangir district, the Statistical Bureau put the data at 29 per cent. Similar contradictions were also marked in other districts including Bargarh and Sambalpur, he said.
Both the Congress and BJP members earlier criticised the Government for the delay which forced many farmers to commit suicide. Alleging that the Government has betrayed the farmers by not paying them insurance in time, Leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra said the Government has let down the farmers several times in the past by not providing irrigation and free power as promised.
Mishra warned the Government that unless the insurance is paid by October end, it would difficult to control the anger of farmers. Naba Das (Cong) alleged that 22 lakh farmers who had been affected in the drought are suffering because of the delay. Congress Chief Whip Taraprasad Bahinipati and his party colleague Subal Sahu criticised the State Government for its anti-farmer policies. BJP member Rabi Nayak also criticised the Government for ‘not being able’ to help the farmers at the time of need.