Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today asked the district collectors to attach importance to farmers’ issues while opposition Congress demanded constitution of a farmers’ commission in the state. “Farmers’ welfare and empowerment is something very close to my heart. I have directed district collectors to give priority to farmers’ issues,” he said. Patnaik was addressing a Farmers’ Day programme on the auspicious day of “Akshya Tritiya”.
Stating that the state has made significant progress in terms of production, productivity and income generation, the chief minister said, “We will make further improvement in coming years.” Patnaik pointed out that the farmers’ income in the state has increased by two times in the past 10 years as per a report of the Union government.
He said that the state government has set up two corpus funds of Rs 100 crore each – one for seeds and the other for fertilisers. Besides, Patnaik said, the state provides agriculture loan at the rate of one per cent to farmers. Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy said that the state government was mulling farm loan waiver and crop insurance of farmers. In a seed sowing programme at Paniora in Khurda district, Congress state president Prasad Harichandan took part.
He said, “We demand pension of Rs 5000 per month to each farmer’s family and setting up of a farmers commission to look after the community.” BJP state president Basant Panda also participated at a function marking celebration of “Akshya Tritya” in Nuapada district. The day also marked beginning of construction work for chariots of Lord Jagannath’s Rath Jatra in Puri.