Orissa Agriculture Policy, a political gimmick-Congress

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Bhubaneswar, Jul 6 (UNI) The Opposition Congress today dubbed the new agricultral policy announced by the Orissa government as a ''political gimmick'' and demanded its immediate withdrawal.

The new agriculture policy, announced yesterday, had envisaged to raise agriculture productivity, use of fertiliser and seed replacement rate.

The government had also enhanced the subsidy in different sections to benefit the farmers.

Kissan Khet Mazdoor Congress, the farmers' wing of the Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee, Chairman Amiya Kumar Patnaik threatened that the activists of the Khet Mazdoor would hold demonstrations in front of all agriculture and horticulture offices across the state in protest against the new policy.

Mr Patnaik said ignoring the opinion of experts the policy was formulated with an eye on coming elections and demanded that the Chief Minister should formulate a new policy after taking the opinion of farmers, different political parties, farm leaders and agriculture scientists.

The Congress leader said the farmers of the state were neglected during the nine-year rule of the present government and the announcement of various packages for the farmers was confined to publicity.

The farmers had not been benefited from a single scheme of the government and instead they were committing suicide and forced to distress sale of their commodities.

Regional political outfit Samrudha Orissa leader and former Finance Minister Panchanan Kanungo said the policy had failed to touch problems of 85 per cent of the farmers in the state.

He said the subsidy given to farmers to buy tractors and other costly equipment would benefit only the big farmers. This apart the new policy, he said, did not mention anything about the announcement to insure all crops and make panchayat as an unit to assess the crop loss of farmers.

The policy was also silent on the issue of providing agricultural loan at a low interest rate as well as on social security issue.

Mr Kanungo said though the government had announced several packages for the farmers, not one of them had been implemented so far.

He said the announcement of the new policy was an effort by the government to ''betray'' the farmers, who would give a befitting reply during the coming elections.

Mr Kanungo said the announcements made in the polices were ''full of lies'' and only repetition of all earlier decisions yet to be implemented by the government.

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