BHUBANESWAR: Claiming that Odisha is the only State in the country to have successfully doubled the farmers’ income within a decade from 2003 to 2013, the State Government on Wednesday said farmers income is growing more than double the rate of agricultural growth. “The sustained growth in the agriculture is possible because of the robust agricultural policy adopted by the Government from time to time,” said Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari in the Assembly. Dismissing opposition allegation that the economic growth of the State is not inclusive, the Finance Minister in his reply to the general discussions on Annual Budget 2020-21 said the farmer’s income grew more than seven times at a compound annual growth rate of 16.5 per cent in nominal terms and 8.4 per cent in real terms during the period.
“The State is placed on a high growth path in agriculture despite vagaries of nature and this is possible due to sustained efforts of the Government to bring more cultivable areas under assured irrigation,” Pujari said.
Questioning the veracity of the Finance Minister’s claim over areas covered under assured irrigation, senior Congress leader Narasingh Mishra said the district-wise data provided by the Government on irrigation potential created run contrary to the Chief Minister’s reply in the House.While the CM said 33 per cent irrigation potential has been created in Balangir district, in reality only 3 per cent of the arable land has assured irrigation.
Mishra said the irrigation potential created in Cuttack and Puri districts is more than the cultivable areas of the two districts. Coming under fire from the opposition over large-scale unemployment and vacancy of posts in critical sectors like health and education, the Finance Minister said the Government has taken several concrete measures to generate employment. “The Vision 2025 for Industrial Development has the potential to create employment for 30 lakh persons while another 2.25 lakh employment will be possible under the vision for development of the down-stream metal sector,” Pujari said.
Refuting opposition allegations that health services are in shambles due to large-scale vacancy in doctors posts, the Minister said 6,283 doctors are in position in Government hospitals while efforts are on to post another 1,403 doctors in the coming financial year. Not satisfied with the reply of the Minister, the opposition BJP and Congress members walked out of the House in protest.
MLAs demand review of AES pact on OPGC
Bhubaneswar: As the US-based AES Corporation is reportedly in serious talks with Adani Group for sale of its stake in the State-owned OPGC, members cutting across party lines on Wednesday demanded a review of the agreement with the overseas company. Raising the issue during zero hour of the Assembly, BJD member S R Patnaik alleged preferential treatment to vast majority of OPGC employees by AES management. Pioneering reform in the energy sector, the Government divested 49 per cent of its stake in OPGC to the AES Corporation in 1999.
Patnaik urged the Government to take matter seriously as it is closely linked to the interest of the State. It is now open secrete that the company is looking for a firm to sell its share from the project. Deliberate attempts are being made to stall the commercial generation power from the third and fourth units which have been commissioned last year, he added. Leader of Opposition Pradipta Kumar Naik of BJP also expressed concern over the issue and demanded a review of the agreement. Congress legislature party leader Narasingh Mishra said there should be no legal restriction on reviewing the pact. BJD members Kishore Mohanty and Amar Prasad Satpathy said a section of employees of OPGC is on dharna protesting mismanagement by AES.