The Opposition exposed the step-motherly treatment meted out to farmers by the State Government in course of an adjournment motion on the necessity of bonus on paddy and pension to farmers, as on Saturday, while initiating the debate, Congress stalwart Santos Singh Saluja gave a detail picture of how the cultivators are being harassed by officials in nexus with private rice mill owners and paddy merchants.
The farmers are being forced to distress selling their products as officials in charge of procurement are not performing for reasons best known to them.
Quoting the State agriculture Minister, Saluja pointed out that during the period from 2000 to 2008, 2574 farmers had committed suicide under duress due to distress sale of their paddy as officials in nexus with millers did not help them with procurement. The crop insurance scheme not implemented in right earnest, in an industry-induced inclement climate, as standing crops succumb to calamities, disadvantaged farmers unable to repay their loans, are committing suicide, he pointed out reprimanding scathingly the government for its anti-people manners and short-sightedness.
Opposition Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan came down heavily on the government for suppression of the report of the Agriculture commission and for lack of industrial approach to agriculture and the state’s blatant failure to enhance incentive price of paddy. When in the last fifty years the price of gold and the rate of salary of the government officials have a 150 fold increase, the rate of paddy has gone lower in terms of devalued rupee, he said. The apathy shown to agriculture is precipitating suicide in the farming community so menacingly that there are at least three suicides per week in the state, he lamented.
Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh stripped the Government layer by layer for its total failure in the front of agro based industries. Far from creating any ventures in agro-industrial sphere, it has failed to maintain the cold-storage units, spinning mills, Sugar factories and other agro-industries established during the Congress regime, he observed.
Independent member Pratap Sarangi castigated the government for its lack of concern for the farmers when its extraordinary zeal for Vedanta and Sainik is enough to indicate how dubious has become the conduct of administration. He asked as to why the farmers shall not be ensured with pension when government servants and legislators are provided with pension.
In call attention over the issue, treasury-bencher Anant Das opined that the principal opposition party in the Assembly – the Congress – should prevail upon its own government in the center to ensure farmers with pension and support money for paddy. His colleagues Dr. Nrusingh Sahu, Prabhat Biswal, Prafulla Samal were almost of the same view.
In reply, agriculture minister Debi Pr. Mishra asserted that there is no negligence to agriculture from the side of administration. Suicide by members of the farming community cannot be attributed to official negligence to agriculture as no such allegation is based on evidences to such effect.