A farmers’ association here has sought a hike in compensation from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF)and urged the peasants to refrain from committing suicide or torching paddy fields due to crop loss. The representatives of All India Kishan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, an apex body of seven Left and two independent associations in the state, met chief minister Naveen Patnaik last night, urging him to request the Centre for a revision in the NDRF compensation rates for farmers hit by natural calamities. “We have drawn attention of the chief minister to the fact that compensation doled out for crop loss owing to drought and pest attack is inadequate. While a farmer spends Rs 20,000 for cultivating paddy over one acre land, he gets only Rs 2,720 as compensation under NDRF. This must be revised,” said Suresh Panigrahi of Odisha Krushak Sabha (OKS). Panigrahi argued that the compensation rate for farmers has remained unchanged for several years even as the price of raw materials increased manifold.
Stating that the farmers should be given adequate compensation to make up for their losses, the AIKSCC appealed to the peasants not to take any drastic step or set fire to their fields. “We demand Rs 20 lakh ex-gratia for the family members of farmers who have committed suicide and land for those who have no homes,” said Asish Kanungo of All India Kishan Sabha. The AIKSCC also sought a farm loan waiver and interest-free loans for all farmers in Odisha. “The association wants the government to hold awareness campaigns across the state to prevent farmers from torching their crops or committing suicide,” Panigrahi added.