Rasol: The farmers of Nabkishorepur, Gandanali and Khaliborei panchayats under Hindol block in Dhenkanal district have alleged that they are failing to get proper returns for their crops due to non-cooperation of the Agriculture Department and its officials.
Farmers of the Hindol block alleged that they have not received any help from the Agriculture Department when their crops were destroyed by ‘Cyclone Fani’
“Most families in Hindol block earn their livelihood by growing vegetables like egg plants, cauliflowers, pointed guord, bitter guord, lady’s fingers, cucumbers, pumpkins and potatoes all the year round. However, we have to sell the vegetables at throw away prices at the markets in Bhapur, Rasol, Hindol, Khajuriakata, Talcher and Angul town. This is because we don’t have a gold storage facility in the block. In the end we end up with losses or even if we make profits it is very minimal,” said the farmers.
The farmers alleged that they have repeatedly visited the offices of the Agriculture Department to narrate their plight. However, it has failed to evoke any response from the officials.
The farmers alleged that after Cyclone Fani, an employee of the Horticulture Department had visited the locality to take stock of the situation. “An employee of the horticulture department Bichitrananda Sahu visited our village. He took pictures of the devastation that the crops had suffered due to the cyclone,” said a farmer of c under Nabkishorepur panchayat
Others alleged that Sahu had taken Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 as it would help in facilitating the process for the farmers to get compensation. However, till date the farmers are yet to receive any amount.
Sahu however denied the allegations. He informed that only one farmer had suffered due to the cyclone and he had been adequately compensated. “As the crops of other farmers of Khairabahali village were not destroyed, their names were not included in list of beneficiaries,” informed Sahu. He also vehemently denied the allegations that he had taken money from the farmers.
Additional Horticulture Department officer Jagateswar Behera when asked about the incident said, “The names of farmers who had claimed compensation have been sent to the higher-ups. Steps would be taken according to the direction received from them.”
District sub-collector Uday Kumar Mohapatra said investigation has been launched into the allegations that Sahu had taken money from the farmers. “If the allegations are true then stringent disciplinary action will be taken against Sahu.