Sharmili Mallick

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha unit of BJP targeted the ruling BJD today over a series of issues affecting farmers including drought, suicides due to crop failure and irregularities in paddy procurement in the State.

BJP State president Basant Panda in a presser at the party headquarters in Bhubaneswar produced a list of farmers who committed suicide in the recent past and advised the BJD-led government to accept that those farmers took the extreme step due to crop failure.

He also urged the Odisha government to grant compensation to the kin of the deceased farmers at the earliest. Panda also demanded interest-free loan for the farmers of the State.

"The government should accept the deaths of farmers as suicides due to crop failure and like other states, provide assistance," stated Panda.

Speaking about the illegal practices by the millers during paddy procurement, Panda alleged "Food Supplies Minister Surya Narayan Patro has himself accepted that the Food & Civil Supplies Department is being controlled by the millers."

"The State is actually being ruled by a coterie in the third floor (Chief Minister's office in the Secretariat) and the millers are influencing those officials to exploit the farmers of the State." he added.

Panda also alleged that the government has declared drought in nine districts of the State without undertaking field visits.

Responding to Panda's allegations, BJD spokesperson Arun Sahoo said “The State has bagged national “Krishi Karman Award” four times and the packages the farmers of Odisha are given are much better than any other states."