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Pradeep Singh

Bhubaneswar: Buoyed by its performance in the recently concluded Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh & Rajasthan, Odisha unit of the Congress party today promised farm loan waiver for the farmers in the State if they are voted to power.

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) today convened the first meeting of its manifesto committee at the party headquarters in Bhubaneswar where party chief, Niranjan Patnaik promised farm loan waiver, solar pump to farmers and increase in old-age pension from Rs 300 to Rs 1000, among others.

"Congress had earlier said and again we are reiterating that if we are voted to power in 2019, we will waive off farm loans. Farm loans have been waived off twice during the UPA government but the condition of farmers here is still not improving. So, this time we have decided to distribute solar pumps to farmers. But this too will also be not enough for the farmers; so, we will further give them financial support for five years," said Patnaik, adding that the amount that will be given as assistance will be decided by the manifesto committee.

If farmers will get enough water throughout the year, they can experiment and grow different types of crops and it will have immense impact on their financial stability. "We believe the 5-year support plan will bring stability in the financial condition of farmers and they will not have to take loans from other sources," stated the OPCC chief.

The State unit president further said that for good results, the party will have to fight the elections in a united and disciplined manner.

Resentment has brewed among the farmers in Odisha as attempts had been made in the past to suppress their voice, said senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra.

BJP spokesperson Golaka Mohapatra said farmer issues will definitely be one of the key factors in the upcoming elections in Odisha and the apathy of the State government towards the issues will prove dearer for the ruling-BJD.

"The preliminary stage meeting of a three-member ministerial committee has been concluded. The team will sit for discussion for a couple of more time to look into and resolve all the issues of farmers," said Food Supplies minister Surya Narayan Patro.

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