CM asks officials to give agricultural input subsidy to actual farmers

Bhubaneswar: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled farmers’ rally at Bargarh in western Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has asked the officials to give Agricultural Input Subsidy (AIS) to actual farmers affected by drought instead of land owners.

Patnaik issued the direction last evening while reviewing the progress made in the distribution of AIS among the needy farmers who lost their crops in the 2015 drought.

The state government has so far distributed AIS above Rs 50 crore among the drought affected farmers.

However, the farmers complained that the land owners were availing of benefits from the scheme while small and marginal farmers actually cultivating land were denied the subsidy as they had no land records.

Meanwhile, revenue and Disaster Management Minister Bijayshree Routray has said that the state government will bring special legislation to ensure that the actual farmers get the subsidy in case of natural calamities.

The opposition BJP, however, alleged that the BJD government in Odisha failed to tackle farmers’ problems which had led to alleged suicides by many peasants, mostly in western region of the state.

The Prime Minister’s forthcoming visit to Bargarh district on February 21 next could give mileage to the opposition BJP which has been campaigning against the state’s BJD government, a senior minister said alleging that the BJP led NDA government had not released adequate assistance to tackle the drought situation in the state.

Meanwhile, the ruling BJD has also planned farmers congregation with chief minister Naveen Patnaik deciding to inaugurate two irrigation projects at Gudvela in Balangir and Kesinga in Kalahandi (both in western Odisha) three days ahead of the Prime Minister’s programme.

However, BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb said, “The chief minister’s programme to Balangir and Kalahandi should not be linked to the Prime Minister’s visit to west Odisha.”