Naveen announces slew of measures for drought hit farmers

Lambasts opposition for shedding crocodile tears, resorting to rhetoric  

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday announced a slew of measures including one percent interest on agriculture loan and Rs 100 additional assistance per quintal during Kharif paddy procurement to arrest the drought situation in the state.

Addressing a farmers’ convention convened by ruling BJD at Sohela in Bargarh district, he also announced to spend Rs 35,000 crore for the development of western Odisha in next 5 years out of which 80 percent funds have been earmarked for agricultural development.

Rs 8,000 crore will be spent for irrigation purpose, said the Chief Minister.

He also declared two irrigation projects for Bargarh district. One will come up on river Aung at the cost of Rs 1500 crore while another will be on river Jeera at the cost of Rs 300 crore.

He said, “There would be no shortage of funds for development of agriculture. My government has always been giving emphasis on agriculture.”

“My government has taken farmers’ issue seriously. I have asked party MPs, MLAs and other leaders to meet farmers and address their issue,” said the Chief Minister.

The Chief Minister also attacked at the opposition for shedding crocodile tears on the farmers’ issue.

“My government believes in deeds, not in words. But, the opposition only resorts to words and rhetoric holding only press conferences and holding Pada Yatra before TV cameras,” said Patnaik asking the opposition to stop politicising the farmer issues.

He said while Odisha is facing several natural calamities like Phailin, Hudhud, drought and untimely rain causing huge loss, the centre has ignored the demand for special category status.

He attacked the central government for not releasing a penny as drought assistance, while stating that his government has already sanctioned Rs 1,000 crore to meet the drought situation.