Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: Amid race of political parties for the upcoming general elections gaining momentum, yet again the Congress launched scathing attacks on the Centre and State Government over not waiving farm loan and employment crisis in Odisha.

Addressing a presser at Congress Bhawan in Bhubaneswar, OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik stated that the Naveen Patnaik-led government should learn from Chhattisgarh and announce bonus for farmers.

In a tweet, Patnaik also urged the Odisha government to provide immediate assistance to the farmers who have been the worst victims of Cyclone Phethai-induced rains.

Further criticising PM Modi and Naveen for ‘making false promises’ of creating jobs for youth in the State, Patnaik said, "Both Modi and Naveen governments failed to deliver the promised jobs. Last year, at Paradip refinery, PM Modi had said that one lakh Odia youths would get employed at IOCL within a month. However, a recent inquiry revealed that only 374 youths have been employed so far.”

PM Modi had also promised to create 2 crore job opportunities, but nothing has come off as yet, alleged Patnaik.

It may be mentioned that the BJD had claimed that non-implementation of M S Swaminathan committee report played a game-changer during the recent assembly elections in three States. Citing this, the OPCC Chief questioned if the State government has implemented the Swaminathan committee report.

The people are unhappy with the BJD and the BJP as both have failed the farmers due to their  anti-farmer approach, Patnaik added.

However, responding to Patnaik's comments, State Food Supplies Minister Surjya Narayan Patro said, "The guidelines of Centre don't allow us to announce bonus for paddy over and above the fixed MSP. If we do so, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) will not procure additional quantity of rice and subsequently Odisha government will be responsible for any surplus.”

Patro further said that the State government has decided to submit a memorandum addressed to the President of India over minimum support price (MSP) issue in January 2019.