Resentment after Odisha sways on sharecropper legislation

Bhubaneswar: After Odisha Revenue minister’s comments which apparently indicated that the State government has put the legislation for protecting the rights of sharecroppers on the backburner, Opposition parties and farmer associations have resented such attitude of government.

Ruling-BJD leader and former Agriculture minister Damodar Rout who was also a member of the inter-ministerial committee constituted by the Odisha government to implement the Odisha Landowners and Sharecroppers (Protection of Interest) Act, 2017 a few months back, has also questioned such a stance of the government.

Revenue Minister Maheswar Mohanty

If the legislation is not prepared keeping in mind the rights of sharecroppers and the landlords then there is a possibility of an explosion. It’s a sensitive issue. An inter-ministerial committee was constituted which said that they were not able to reach a conclusion. A sub-committee has also been constituted which has met several times. Hence, the state government will be careful and take a decision after discussions and advice.

– Maheswar Mohanty had said yesterday.

“Maximum farmers who are committing suicide are sharecroppers. For how long will people live on the assurances of the government. If we want to bring a change for farmers, then the sharecroppers legislation should be changed,” said farmer leader, Ashok Pradhan.

Many believe that keeping in mind the upcoming elections, the state government has gone on a back foot to avoid the ire of landowners who are expected to be affected by the legislation. With the state government deciding to constitute another sub-committee citing that the inter-ministerial committee has failed to reach a consensus on the sharing pattern of agricultural produce, it is being alleged that in the name of more discussions, the government is deliberately trying to avoid implementation of the legislation.

Former Minister Damodar Rout

The government is saying it will provide loans to sharecroppers, I don’t know how they will do it. Again the State government has said that it will provide loans to landless farmers, I don’t how that will be implemented when farmers don’t have land.

– said Damodar Rout.

“The state government has betrayed the farmers. After giving assurances, the state government has broken its promises,” said leader of Opposition, Narasingha Mishra.

“The State government confidently said that it will take cues from various states and formulate a legislation. To back out like this after making promises proves that the state government has betrayed the sharecroppers,” said senior BJP Leader, Biswabhushan Harichandan.