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Union ministers hit out at Patnaik

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Bargarh: In a contrast to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘silence’ on BJD government in Odisha during his visit to the state today, senior BJP leaders, including three union ministers hit out at Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik accusing him of not being serious about farmers’ issues, many of whom have committed suicide.

The union ministers, speaking before the Prime Minister rejected ruling Biju Janata Dal’s (BJD) allegation of negligence by the Centre though Modi chose to skip the issue while addressing a farmers rally in this drought-hit zone of western Odisha.

“While the previous UPA government had sanctioned only Rs 332 crore for the droughts in 2003 and 2009, the Narendra Modi government has given Rs 815 crore for the one in 2015,” Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said.

Stating that the state government has not been able to spend Rs 4 crore sanctioned to it for issuance of soil health cards to farmers, Singh said the government should be pro-farmers and help them to boost food grain production.

He also rejected BJD’s allegation of central negligence and said the NDA government has given Rs 34,000 crore to the state as central share in 2015-16 compared to Rs 15,000 crore during the UPA government in 2013-14.

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also asked BJD to shun its slogans of central negligence as people would “laugh at them.”

Instead of stressing on distress sale of paddy and other problems faced by farmers, the state government keeps itself busy in centre bashing, he alleged.

Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram said both Patnaik and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi have no knowledge and sympathy towards the farmers.

“…The Prime Minister knows what is what in agriculture sector from his personal experience,” he said.

BJP state president Basanta Kumar Panda also criticised Patnaik and accused him of being “anti-farmer.”

Though the Chief Minister had been in charge of water resources department for the past 16 years, there had been no improvement in the irrigation sector and water resources department, he said.

Senior MLA and former BJP president K V Singhdeo while criticising Patnaik said, “It is not central negligence, but the negligence of the Chief Minister for which the farmers in Odisha suffer.

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