BJP criticises Naveen’s cyclone relief package

Bhubaneswar: Slamming the special package announced by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for cyclone victims as "half-hearted and futile," BJP today said it was a knee jerk action taken before completing proper assessment of damage caused by the calamity.

"Announcement of package was a half-hearted and futile exercise. Though proper assessment of damage and listing of affected villages was not completed, the state government went into a knee jerk action of hurriedly announcing it," BJP state unit President K V Singh Deo told reporters here.

He said the impact of the cyclone has not been properly assessed till date and announcement made by the government is like rubbing salt on the wounds of the injured.

The three-level agriculture subsidy announced is pathetic compared to the devastation, Singh Deo said, adding the government has announced per hectare subsidy of Rs 4,500 for rain fed areas, Rs 9,000 for assured irrigation areas and Rs 12,000 for perennial crops.

BJP demands that this compensation should be in slabs of Rs 15,000, Rs 30,000 and Rs 45,000 respectively.

The minimum assistance to the affected farmers should be Rs 10,000 instead of Rs 2,000 as announced by the CM, he said.

Even this will not cover the losses. The assessment of the crop loss of 50 per cent or more is wrong, the affected should be given compensation in accordance with the losses suffered, irrespective of the percentage.

Demanding zero interest loans for the current season in the affected areas, he said the moratorium for the existing short term loans should be extended and the repayment time should be extended and staggered.

Describing the stand of the government to conduct crop cutting experiment for claim settlement as ridiculous, he said the entire crop of the affected farmers should be included under crop insurance scheme.

Pulse kits which are to be distributed should be done on a free basis, while the Government should ensure high quality seeds to all farmers, the state BJP chief said.

Farmers who have lost milch and draught animals (cow) should be assisted with an amount of Rs 25,000 for replacement of their animals. For sheep, goats, pigs and poultry also losses should be adequately compensated, he said.

The Government should ensure remission of basic water rate and cess on land revenue in the entire affected areas.

The Government must procure discoloured rice (because of unexpected rain) from the farmers at a minimum support price.

Stating that fishery sector has been severely affected by the cyclone, he said thousands of fishermen have lost their boats and nets and have no source of livelihood, but the State Government has announced a "measly package" of Rs 3,000 for repairs and Rs 7,000 for replacement of boats which is "grossly inadequate".