Centre has no sympathy towards Odisha farmers: Patnaik

Bargarh: Hitting out at the BJP, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday accused the Centre of having no sympathy towards the farmers of Odisha.

“The central government has no time to deal with the the problems of Odisha farmers,” Patnaik said, addressing a series of election meetings at Atabira, Padmapur and Bargarh, where polling is scheduled to take place on April 18.

Noting that the BJP in its 2014 manifesto promised to double the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy, he said the state government waited for its implementation.

“However, nothing has been done so far, even as five years have passed since then,” the CM said.

Patnaik said the Odisha assembly had formed a House Committee to take up the issue of MSP with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “But the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) did not allot even two minutes to listen to the Committee,” he alleged.

Targeting Union ministers Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan, Patnaik added, “Even more pathetic was that the two Union ministers from Odisha remained silent on this matter.”

The BJD president also reiterated his charge that the BJP is conspiring to stop disbursal of monetary assistance to farmers under the KALIA scheme. “No one can stop KALIA till I am alive,” he asserted.

In a bid to draw attention of the weaver community in Bargarh district, Patnaik said the BJP-led government imposed GST on the state’s weavers without realising their poor economic condition, but later withdrew it following protests by the BJD.

He also alleged that the Centre did not include Koshali in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution, despite repeated demands.