Cassian Baliarsingh

The Budget Session of the Odisha Legislative Assembly witnessed an exchange of words between Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra and Ranendra Pratap Swain, Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment of Odisha over the plight of sharecroppers in the state.

Even though sharecropping has no legal sanctity in Odisha and the system continues with informal arrangements, Ranendra Swain submitted a report on the number of sharecroppers in the Bhadrak district.

This infuriated Narasingha Mishra who slammed the Agriculture Minister and targeted the government for the acute crisis of sharecroppers in the state.

The Congress leader said, “Sharecropping has no legal sanctity as per the Land Rights act. Both, the sharecropper and the person leasing land to the farmer are violating the law. In such a situation, the government should take claim over the land. In such a situation, how can the Agriculture minister put forth the data of sharecroppers in the House."

“Moreover, the government has made a law that it will buy 13 quintals of paddy from non-irrigated land and 19 quintals from irrigated land. Who will buy the remaining paddy from the farmers? Is the agriculture department aware of the plight of farmers?” questioned Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra.

On the other hand, Agriculture Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain instead of giving a direct answer to Narasingha Mishra said, “I have already spoken in my original answer. I have given the details about sharecroppers in the Bhadrak district in my opening remark. You have gone to the court of law over the buying of extra paddy. I wish you are a great lawyer. You will again fight it out on behalf of the cultivators.”

Later, Speaker BK Arukha intervened and said that Swain would submit the remaining data.

Pacifying Mishra, the Speaker said, “He (Swain) has briefly answered your questions and will submit all the essential data to you.”