BJP, Cong stage walkout in Odisha Assembly over farmers' issue

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Bhubaneswar: Opposition Congress and BJP members on Monday walked out of the Assembly over the farmers' issue. The issue was discussed in the Assembly through an adjournment motion where opposition Congress and BJP came down heavily on the state government accusing it of failing to protect those farmers who have been severely hit during this year's kharif season.

The farmers have been affected by drought, pest attack and unseasonal rain this time, they pointed out alleging that the state government's actions failed to alleviate farmers' sufferings and some of them committed suicide out of frustration.

Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress criticised the state government policies and sought to know from the agriculture minister on the modalities of the assistance to be given to actual cultivators instead of land owners.

He said that the existing laws do not allow the share croppers to receive assistance for crop loss and over 90 per cent of the farmers in the state were share croppers. Unless the law was changed, the actual cultivators could not get benefit, he said.

While the government has announced crop loss aid of Rs 6,800 per hectare in non-irrigated areas, for irrigated areas it is Rs 13,500 per hectare. Mishra queried how the cost of production differed in the two areas.

Unconvinced by the minister's reply, Mishra led members to stage a walkout.
On the other hand, the BJP members too blamed the state government for not being able to spread awareness on pest attack and also walked out of the House.
Minister Rout appealed in the House not to instigate the farmers to commit suicide. He also said natural deaths of farmers were made to appear as suicides. 

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