Bargarh: With elections round the corner, both the state and Central governments have been focusing on issues pertaining to farmers. Scheme after scheme is being launched amid a fierce debate over waiving farm loans.
Distress sale of paddy and other crops, lack of irrigation facilities, shortcomings in paddy procurement and rise in farmers’ suicides have been major issues in many areas. The farming community in Bargarh has spoken out on multiple issues.
Ekadasi Sahu, Barahagoda: Farmers have been repeatedly drawing attention of the government towards their plight through agitations. When elections draw closer, the government remembers the farmers. Schemes after schemes are being announced, but their benefits do not reach the farmers.
Suresh Nekenti, Kalapani: Though the state government has been purchasing paddy, it is actually being done by millers. Millers are reducing paddy during weighing and taking away benefits of the farmers. Millers rule the roost at mandis while the administration is a mute spectator. Given such a situation, farmers have to commit suicide, but the government does not admit the fact.
Ramesh Mohapatra, Bargarh: Farmers are facing both natural and artificial calamities. Crops get damaged due to drought and pest attacks. Besides, farmers are deprived of availing reasonable MSP of their produce. The socio-economic condition of farmers is severely affected by such issues. Unable to cope with the situation, some of them end their lives.
Sadananda Pujari, Bijepur: Huge quantities of paddy remain unsold at mandis, due to lack of necessary infrastructure and facilities. Paddy is sold at lower price at some places. The ruling party had laid emphasis on Gangadhar Lift Irrigation Project well before the Bijepur by-election, but it has not been implemented till date. Now, KALIA has been launched. It is only a political gimmick.
Sushant Patel, Kandihi: Farmers do not have identity cards. They have been facing a lot of problems. There have been bottlenecks in everything — from payment of sold crops to compensation for crop loss. Farmers are often burdened with loans. Many of them take the extreme step.
Laxman Pradhan, Bargarh: Both the state and Central governments have failed to sort out issues of farmers. Had the two governments had sincerity to resolve the issues, farmers would not be leading miserable lives. The Centre is not fixing the paddy MSP reasonably despite repeated demands. Similarly, the state government is unwilling to pay bonus to farmers.
Krushna Sahu, Sohela: The minister of civil supplies and consumer welfare has announced to act against those reducing paddy during procurement, but nothing is being done. If he ever visits mandis in Bargarh, he can get an idea of how paddy is being weighed. All mandis are under the siege of millers. The administration is silent. Farmers’ economic backbone is broken thereby.
Binod Sena, Udepur: Problems of farmers have been perennial. Nothing is available despite reminders. At the time of election, leaders come only to make rhetoric speeches on development of farmers. Due to lack of water from canals, hectares of farmland in the area have remained uncultivated. Farmers even fail to sell their crops at right price.
Sadananda Danta, Udepur: Agriculture is the sole means of livelihood. Crops are damaged most of the time, but we don’t get compensation. Even we face a lot of hurdle in selling our harvested paddy. The government schemes are only on paper.
Madan Mohan Das, Udepur: Paddy procurement has been streamlined to some extent now. We have no problem in getting payment. But there is a lack of irrigation facility, affecting hectares of farmland. The government needs to expand irrigation coverage in the larger interests of farmers.