An open letter to the Agriculture minister, Govt of Odisha
You have made a statement that the farmers are getting Rs 50 bonus on a quintal paddy. Sadly, that is a blatant falsehood and nothing else.
Shri Dr. Damodar Rout Ji
Hon’ble Agriculture, Cooperation, Fisheries and Animal Resource Development Minister
Government of Odisha
You are a seasoned politician; a senior member of the present cabinet holding agriculture and cooperation portfolio; and also you claim to be an active farmer. You are the most active member of the present cabinet on various media and public communication platforms. Having all these traits, the farming community expects from you a reflection of the true status of the agriculture sector.
But, I am constrained to allege that, on many occasions, you have belied the trust reposed on you by the farmers. Your statement made on Friday that a bonus of Rs 50 is being paid now, over and above the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of paddy, adds another leaf to that growing list falsehood.
You are grossly wrong in reporting that the farmers are being paid a bonus of Rs 50 on every sell of a quintal of paddy. The farmers are not getting any bonus this year at all and the net sell proceed from a quintal of paddy remains exactly the same as last year.
In addition to the MSP of Rs 950 per quintal, farmers were also getting a bonus of Rs 50 last year. The MSP for this year has been increased to Rs 1,000 per quintal. However, the government is providing no bonus this year. Thus, the effective price that a farmer gets by selling a quintal of paddy still remains Rs 1,000.
Your statement is like an insult to injuries to the farming community which is grappling with increasing adversities. If you have made the statement after ascertaining true facts, then your department and your government has failed to convey the decision - to pay Rs 50 per quintal bonus - to your procuring officers. That shows the incompetence of you and your government. But, if you are not aware of the true facts and still preferred to make an announcement that Rs 50 per quintal of bonus is being paid, then that is no less than brute treachery towards the public in general and farming community in particular.
You definitely owe us an explanation on this guff.
Bimal Prasad Pandia
The writer is a farmer and development researcher. Please send your comments and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com