Stop politicising farmers’ issues, Jual Oram tells Odisha govt

Bhubaneswar: Senior BJP leader and Union Tribal Welfare minister Jual Oram on Wednesday asked the Odisha government to find proper ways to solve the problems of the farmers.

“Here in Odisha, the problem is not on the Central assistance. The problem is the state government has failed to give proper assurance to the farmers. Another issue is that the officials, till date, have not met any farmers of the drought-hit districts to know their problems. As a result, the hapless farmers, finding no alternative, are forced to commit suicide,” Oram told reporters here.

He also said in most cases, it has been found that the farmers have committed suicide after failing to repay the loan they had borrowed from the cooperative banks or the moneylenders.

“The state government has indirectly admitted this as the primary cause of the suicide”, he added.

Oram said the time has come for the BJD leaders to be more pragmatic.

“Instead of politicising the issue by organising chasi samavesh, the ruling leaders should take it up seriously. They should visit the drought-hit areas and personally meet the farmers and seek their suggestions on how to overcome the problems”, Oram pointed out.

He, however, informed that it would take up the drought situation with the Union Agriculture minister very soon.

Reacting to Oram’s statement, BJD spokesperson Amar Prasad Satpathy said the state government is discharging its duty responsibly.

“The state government is taking steps to compensate the farmers who have sustained crop loss. Stress is now given on alternative measures to enable the farmers to eke out their livelihood. Emphasis is being given on the ensuing rabi crops for which the government has taken adequate steps to utilise water sources in the drought-hit areas. This apart, the Agriculture department has been asked to submit a report on the non-paddy crops to be grown in the drought-hit areas which would be beneficial for the farmers”, Satpathy said.

To a question on whether the state government should seek Central assistance to tide over the crisis, he said “In my opinion, the Centre should provide interim assistance to the state government as it would take more time for the Central team prepared and submit the drought report to the Centre.