Bhubaneswar: After pandemonium in house on day one, the State Assembly proceedings started smoothly on day two where in the question hour, the Congress party tried to put the Government on the mat on the issue of farmers.
As the house assembled, during the question hour, senior Congress leader Tara Bahinipati asked the first question seeking details about the number of farmer households in the State in 2010, and wanted to know from the Agriculture Minister Arun Sahoo whether the number has declined in 2019.
In reply to the member's query, Agriculture Minister Arun Sahoo has given a written statement detailing the 2011 census data on farmer households in the State. "As per the 2011 census data, there were 32.8lakh cultivators in the State. In addition, there were over 24 lakh farm labourers," the minister replied.
Taking strong reservations over Minister's reply, senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra sought to know from the Government that how without having any 2019 data on number of cultivators, sharecroppers, small and marginal farmers in the State, the Government has implemented its flagship programme Kalia Yojana.
Responding to the senior member's reservation, Agriculture Minister Arun Sahoo said under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), nearly 22 lakh farmers had availed the scheme. Later, scores of farmers have applied for the Yojana via the Green Form. The agriculture department is analysing the details. But till date, nearly 50 lakh farmers have seen transfer of KALIA money into their accounts.
The Minister has a harrying time on Wednesday, when senior ruling party members like Prafulla Samal and Devi Mishra joined the opposition ranks and sought clarifications from the Minister on KALIA Yojana.
"How the Agriculture Department has identified the sharecroppers, and whether the reports that speak of many sharecroppers failed to avail the Yojana are true," asked Samal.
"The government and CM are claiming that around 50 lakh farmers were provide assistance under Kalia Scheme, but to whom the Kalia money is being distributed if no farmer census or farmer identification is done? " questioned Congress MLA Tara Bahinipati. He further said the Kalia money was distributed to only BJD workers.