Min admits state received relief package for farmers

Bhubaneswar: Under pressure from Opposition, state Revenue Minister Surya Narayan Patro on Friday altered his statement made in Assembly on Thursday that the state did not receive central assistance towards crop loss due to draught and untimely rain.

Patro today said that the state received Rs 560 crore lately out of which Rs 301. 48 crore were earmarked for rain-affected farmers and Rs 258. 69 crore for drought-affected farmers.

Contesting the fact that the government did not furnish misleading information, the minister claimed that he received information in this regard last evening.

However, the Opposition members yesterday alleged the BJD government of misleading people as the government has been claiming Centre of neglecting and adopting step-motherly attitude towards the state.

Yesterday, Congress members showed a report "State of Central Support for Development of Orissa" which said Centre had approved assistance to the state after evaluating Central team’s report and state government’s demands. This was decided in a high-level meeting convened on February 21, the report said.

It may be recalled that a Central team had visited the rain-affected districts last December to assess extent of crop loss. Out of the 30 districts, 23 districts were badly affected due to untimely rain.

The state government had put forth a demand of Rs 1, 027 crore before the Centre to provide compensation to affected farmers. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also announced Rs. 900 crore special package for farmers who sustained crop loss of over 50 per cent due to the unseasonal rain.

Meanwhile, Revenue Minister Surya Narayan Patro has said compensation package could not be disbursed as the identification of affected farmers has not been completed. However, the district collectors have been asked to release the due share of the farmers by May 31, the minister informed.