Bhubaneswar: Opposition BJP and Congress Sunday hit out at the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government in the state accusing it of cheating farmers by announcing KALIA scheme after rejecting demands like farm loan waiver.
Senior BJP leader and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said KALIA (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation) scheme ignored basic issues like price, pension and farm loan waiver. Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik said it was aimed to fool the farmers ahead of polls.
Dismissing opposition allegations, state Finance Minister Sashibhusan Behera said KALIA scheme will help all farmers, including small, marginal and share-croppers. It will also help wipe out demand of loan waiver as farmers can get regular assistance. Behera accused opposition parties of indulging in spreading false propaganda as they are afraid that KALIA scheme will become popular among farmers.
Claiming that Naveen Patnaik government was not sincere about helping farmers, Pradhan said KALIA scheme is an attempt to grab votes by misleading farmers in the state as assembly elections are due along with Lok Sabha polls early next year.
Mounting a scathing attack on the state government, the Union Minister said the ruling BJD has “failed” to keep its promise of providing bonus to farmers and irrigation facilities in additional 10 lakh hectares of land. The BJP leader further claimed that farmers faced pest menace amid damage caused to crops in many areas by Brown Plant Hoppers (chakada). Pradhan also took a dig at the BJD government over the name of the scheme and claimed there is an attempt to exploit the sentiments of the people by linking it to Lord Jagannath, who is known as Kalia by the devotees all over.
“KALIA scheme is nothing but a ploy to mislead and woo voters,” he said.
The Petroleum Minster said the Centre’s Ujjwala Yojana scheme has so far covered 35 lakh women in the state, while 10 lakh more beneficiaries will be added in next three months.
The OPCC president also accused the BJD government of trying to fool farmers with the help of KALIA scheme keeping an eye on the twin elections.
Patnaik alleged the BJD has failed to keep its promise to provide bonus over and above the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for paddy and other farm produce.
On Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s contention that loan waiver will lead to bankruptcy in economy, the OPCC chief sought to know as to how many times has the BJD government waive off loan of farmers during the last 19 years. Patnaik further said that the state’s farmers are going to Chhattisgarh to sell their paddy after hike in MSP by the new Congress government.
“Congress promises that Odisha’s farmers will see better days very soon,” he said.