Drought, farmer issues, Opp attacks kept Odisha govt on toes

Bhubaneswar: Dec 20; The Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha had some tough time in 2015, having to deal with issues related to drought, farmers suicides and suspected starvation death besides frequent attacks from a vociferous Opposition.

As 26 of the state's 30 districts were hit by drought and around 140 farmers committed suicide due to alleged crop failure and debt burden, the Opposition blamed the chief minister saying such situation could have been avoided had his government fulfilled its promises and drawn contingency plans. 

As Congress stalwart and Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra puts it, the BJD government in 2006 promised to ensure 35 per cent of irrigation in each block of the state within five years. Then in 2008, it announced that 35 per cent land of each village will be irrigated, but the promises remained unfulfilled. 

BJP's state unit chief K V Singh Deo also blamed Patnaik, who is in charge of water resources department, for poor irrigation facilities. Miseries of the farming community were compounded as the state government remained apathetic, insincere and insensitive, he claims.

While Patnaik was accused of remaining insensitive towards farmers' plight and not visiting any of the deceased's families, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi led a "save farmer march" in September in Bargarh district where he met family members of a distressed farmer who had ended his life.

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