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Odisha Bypoll: BJD-BJP Trade Charges Over Delay in Crop Insurance Payment

Lakhs of farmers have not received PMFBY dues even after four months of the harvest of Kharif crops, a BJD legislator claimed.
War, Food, Decolonisation and Why India Needs to Thank its Farmers

Representational image. | Image courtesy: Flickr

Bhubaneswar: Ahead of the December 5 bye-election in drought-prone Padmapur Assembly constituency in Odisha’s Bargarh district, a slugfest has erupted between the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the delay in payment of crop insurance money to farmers.

Growers have not received crop insurance dues even after four months of the harvest of Kharif crops,  a legislator of the ruling party claimed.

However, BJP state general secretary Priothivraj Harichandan blamed the Odisha government for the distress of the cultivators, saying they were being inconvenienced as the state government did not meet the requisite formalities for timely payment of crop insurance claims.

“The delay in the payment of crop insurance claims will impact farmers’ livelihood across the state, particularly in Bargarh,” BJD
MLA Debesh Acharya said.

The BJD MLA from Bargarh pointed out that though Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had taken up the issue with the Centre several times in the past, it yielded no result.

Lakhs of farmers from western Odisha districts are suffering due to delays in the settlement of their crop insurance claims, he claimed.

Since the insurance is named Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), is it not the Centre’s responsibility to ensure that the affected farmers get their claim at the proper time? Acharya asked.

The PMFBY, launched in 2016, aims to provide financial aid to growers in case of crop loss or damage. The risks covered in the scheme include damage to the standing crop due to non-preventable risks like drought and flood, along with post-harvest losses.

Odisha’s Cooperation minister Atanu S Nayak recently met Union Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar in New Delhi and drew his attention to the miseries of farmers who were unable to go for the next crop due to non-payment of the insurance amount.

The minister alleged that instead of coming to the rescue of farmers, the opposition BJP is trying to blame it on the state’s BJD

Meanwhile, BJP state general secretary Priothivraj Harichandan said, “The farmers could not avail the benefit of crop insurance as the state government did not meet the formalities required for timely payment of crop insurance.

Pointing out that the Centre has already issued an amended guideline for the smooth payment of crop insurance, Harichandan said as per the provision, the state-level technical advisory committee should resolve the issues between the farmers and insurance companies.

The state’s agriculture department secretary, a professor of the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology, a senior officer of
the State Remote Sensing Application Centre, and a representative of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research should be members in the state- level technical advisory committee.

“However, the state government has been trying to resolve the issue through a director-level officer for which the crop insurance payment is being delayed,”Harichandan said.

The Centre, he said, would soon decide on the 189 cases of non-payment of crop insurance claims in Odisha.

Meanwhile, several organisations of farmers have launched agitation in many places of western districts of the state demanding early payment of crop insurance claims.

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