.........BHUBANESWAR: As the State Government has launched a media campaign to highlight its achievements in the last three years, the BJP on Tuesday posed 10 questions on agriculture sector where its success rate is very disappointing.
With Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the helms of Water Resources Department, the BJP sought to know what happened to the BJD’s promise to provide irrigation to at least 35 per cent agricultural land in each block.
The BJD in the run up to 2014 Assembly elections had promised to create irrigation potential for 10 lakh hectares of land. In a reply to a question in the Assembly on May 9 2016, the CM had informed that 11.09 lakh hectares were covered under assured irrigation in 2015-16 kharif season. This is only 18 per cent of the total agricultural land of the State, BJP MLA Pradip Purohit told reporters here.Though many farmers in the State committed suicide due to crop loss and debt burden, the Government refused to accept the fact to cover up its failure. Nothing could be more unfortunate than to claim that farmers of Odisha do not commit suicide. This shows the apathetic and insensitive attitude of the BJD Government, Purohit said.
“What happened to the State Potato Mission after three years of its launching?” the BJP legislator sought to know from the Government.
As per the Mission target, the State was supposed to be self sufficient in potato production. With its annual requirement of about 12 lakh tonnes of potato, Odisha had produced 2.68 lakh tonnes last year. Purohit attributed the failure to lack of storage capacity in the State.
Quoting a reply of Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout in the Assembly, Purohit said only five cold stores of the Cooperation Department are functional while 13 have remained defunct. The Government has failed to revive a single cold store during the last 17 years.
Even as the State has achieved self sufficiency in onion production, the farmers are selling their produce at throw away price due to lack of institutional support from the Government, he rued.
Similarly, the State is way behind the national average in egg and milk production, Purohit added.