Pandemonium in Odisha Assembly over farmers’ issues

Congress alleges lack of cooperation between central and state governments

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Bhubaneswar: The Winter Session of Odisha Assembly again began on a stormy note today amid pandemonium by the members of the House over farmers’ issues. The Congress party has criticised both the Central and State Governments in discussing the valuable proposals brought by the Congress.

On the other hand, the BJP members protested against the absence of the departmental minister and not participating in the discussion. The BJP members rushed to the well of the House and stage a sit-in. In the absence of the Cooperation Minister, Panchayati Raj Minister Pradeep Amat replied to the adjournment notice, while both BJP and Congress members walked.

Starting the discussion on the adjournment motion, Congress MLA Santosh Singh Saluja said, “The state government has announced input subsidy for the Padmapur by-election.” Why did the government remember input subsidy so late? he questioned. Criticising the Center for the crop insurance scheme, Saluja said that the farmers should have got the assistance by July 31, but in vain. Both the central and state shares are equal in the scheme. So why the name of the scheme should be Pradhan Mantri Phasal Bima Yojana? Thousands of crores of rupees have been swindled from the scheme. There are widespread irregularities in the mandis, he added.

Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati said, “If the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and the Finance Minister are absent from the House and busy in poll campaign, how the House will run.” There should be a censure motion in the house and the house should be closed. Clearly, if the leader of the house himself remains absent, then what is the purpose of running the house?

Bhupinder Singh and Rajkishore Das, who participated in the discussion on behalf of the BJD, argued in favor of the state government and criticized both the BJP and the Congress.

The BJP MLAs walked out of the House, expressing their displeasure over Panchayati Raj Minister Pradeep Amat’s response to the adjournment motion in the absence of Cooperation Minister. While the BJP members were moving out, the Panchayati Raj Minister with folded hands and urged them to stage protest in front of Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar who will be visiting Odisha tomorrow and ensure that the Centre increased the MSP.

Panchayati Raj Minister Pradeep Amat said, “Token system has been made for transparency in paddy procurement and the payments are being made online. Satellite mapping is being carried out to know the reality of the crop in the farm land. Input subsidy has been arranged on the basis of Collector’s report. Due to the objections of the insurance companies regarding the crop cutting experiment, there is a delay in disbursal of crop insurance.

The minimum support price was decided to be Rs 2930 in 2015, which should be Rs 3300 to Rs 3400 by now. It is a collective responsibility of the BJP MLAs to give their opinion. Amat said that various departments of the state government have already written 14 to 15 times to the central government regarding crop insurance but to no avail.

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