Farmers’ Commission report on Odisha’s agrarian crisis gathers dust- The New Indian Express www.newindianexpress.com

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Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: The report of the State Farmers’ Commission set up by Odisha government a decade ago to study the reasons behind farmers suicide and related problems is yet to see the light of the day.

The government had constituted a four-member commission headed by former Chief Secretary SM Patnaik on January 2, 2010 after more than 50 farmers committed suicide. But the report is yet to be tabled in the Assembly.

The terms of reference of the commission were to review the status of Odisha agriculture, its strengths and weaknesses, condition of different categories of farmers in various agro-climatic zones and work out a comprehensive strategy for achieving sustainable and equitable agriculture development of the State.

The commission was asked to analyse the factors responsible for low farm income and suggest measures to enhance farmers’ income through crop diversification, improved marketing, value addition and agro-processing. The other mandate of the panel was to review the rural employment situation and constraints, suggest avenues for enhancing on-farm and off-farm employment opportunities.

The panel, which submitted an interim report on October 30, 2010 followed by its final report on December 15, 2012, is reported to have suggested far reaching measures for development of farm sector.

Criticising the State Government for not tabling the report, senior Congress leader Narasingh Mishra said it has been always the habit of the BJD government to announce commissions on different issues but reluctant to make it public for reason best know to the ruling party.

“In a democracy, once a commission is set up, the Government in all fairness should bring the report to the notice of the Assembly and made public. It is difficult to understand why the Government prefers to hide the report,” Mishra remarked.

As a lot of money from the public exchequer is spent on the commission, Mishra said the citizens have the right to know whether the expenditure is fruitful. Though the Government claimed to have spent Rs 35 lakh on the commission, sources said the actual expenditure will be more than Rs one crore.

However, the report is gathering dust for the last three years. Accusing the ruling BJD of more into rhetoric and optics when it comes to farmers issue, BJP Krushak Morcha leader Surath Biswal said suicide of the three farmers reported from Balasore, Bargarh and Ganjam districts in recent months calls for debate on the commission report and implementation of its recommendations.

Timeline

January 2, 2010 The four-member  commission formed
October 30, 2010 Interim report submitted to the government
December 15, 2012 Final report submitted by the commission



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