Odisha babus on Holland jaunt, while real farmer beneficiaries suffer

However, attempts to contact the Minister and Principal Secretary of Agriculture department to get their responses proved futile.

Published: 07th September 2022 06:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th September 2022 06:30 AM   |  A+A-

farmers, farming, agriculture

Image used for representational purposes only (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Three senior officers of the Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment department have embarked on a week-long foreign trip to the Netherlands to participate in an international horticulture exhibition ‘Floriade Expo 2022’ when farmers of the flood-affected areas are anxiously waiting for crop loss compensation.

On the other hand, four farmers whose names were cleared by the State government to be part of the exposure visit were dropped at the last moment under the plea that their visa could not be arranged.Interestingly, the Horticulture Director Rohit Kumar Lenka, a member of the delegation, is in Delhi for the last two days to get a diplomatic visa for him for the trip.

Initially, the Horticulture directorate had sought permission of the government for allowing three officers, Agriculture Production Commissioner Sanjeev Chopra, Special Secretary Agriculture Sanjeev Chadha and Director Horticulture Rohit Lenka to travel to the Netherlands to participate in the event at Almere from September 8 to 14, 2022.

After Arabinda Padhee took over as Principal Secretary of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare department he had suggested that a few farmers should be given exposure to such international event for the benefit of the State. Accordingly, the Horticulture directorate selected four progressive farmers of the State and they were asked to bring supporting documents including bank accounts and Aadhaar details as identity proof to apply for passport.

“Although we got our passports, the directorate did not take any initiative for administrative processing of our visas. We were told at the last moment that our trip to Netherlands was dropped as visas could not be arranged,” said a farmer who did not wish to be named.

“In what way the State will benefit if farmers are not given exposure to such international event on horticulture,” wondered State BJP Krushak Morcha president Pradip Purohit.Former Chief Minister JB Patnaik had come under severe criticism from then opposition Janata Dal when he led a team of officers to Israel on an agriculture exposure visit to study drip irrigation in 1996-97.

Present Agriculture Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain had taken the lead in criticising then Congress government in the Assembly but is now silent just to keep his ministerial position intact, Purohit remarked. However, attempts to contact the Minister and Principal Secretary of Agriculture department to get their responses proved futile.


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