BHUBANESWAR: Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday urged the Centre to relax Fair Average Quality (FAQ) norms for procurement of rabi paddy in the State.
In a letter to Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Radhan Mohan Singh, Pradhan said the quality of paddy has been affected due to hailstorms and unseasonal rains.
Drawing the attention of Singh to the widespread loss of crops and life in many districts of the State due to nor’wester in the last few days, Pradhan said the situation has forced distressed farmers to take drastic steps and two farmers have already attempted suicide.Although crop loss assessment has not been done as yet, conservative estimates said standing crops on thousands of acres of land have been damaged.
“The intensity of damage is pronounced in six districts of Bargarh, Jajpur, Sonepur, Dhenkanal, Mayurbhanj and Balasore. Some pockets in these districts are already in the bottom of the poverty pyramid and the natural disaster has further added woes to the farmers barely living on subsistence income,” the letter said.“Urgent remedial measures are imperative to ameliorate the situation and assuage the distress of farmers. As you are aware of the problems afflicting the farmers of Odisha, relaxation of procurement norms will go a long way to redress their adverse situation,” Pradhan said.
Seeking Singh’s personal intervention, Pradhan urged him to facilitate assessment of the situation and provide all possible support to the farmers to overcome the situation.Meanwhile, two farmers of Kanbar village under Barpali block of Bargarh district have attempted suicide over crop loss by consuming poison. While Akrura Bishi (50) tried to take his life by consuming poison during an agitation in front of the district Collectorate on May 3, another villager identified as Niranjan Bhoi made a similar attempt on next day. Hailstorm has also caused extensive damage of vegetables in Keonjhar district.