Bonus to Phailin-hit Odisha farmers a farce?

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 6:

While the deadline for the disbursal of financial assistance to the farmers in the Phailin-hit districts of Odisha has expired since May 30, failure of the state government to even prepare of a list of beneficiaries has raised serous doubts among the affected farmers about whether they would ever be compensated for the huge losses sustained by them during the cyclonic storm.

It may be recalled here that the state government had announced Kharif compensation to the tune of Rs 100 per one quintal of paddy seeds to the affected farmers after Cyclone Phailin wreaked havoc in the state in October last year.

This was followed by a notification by the Food Supplies department that the compensation would be provided to farmers from whom the state government has procured at least 100 quintals of paddy. The notification had said that the list fo such farmers would be known after the completion of paddy procurement process on April 30 this year.

While the state government is yet to make any effort in this regard, the concerned departments have not issued any clarification on the inordinate delay in the preparation of the list of beneficiaries.

Instructions had also been given to the tehsildars of the affected districts to complete the verification of the land records of the farmers by May 30 this year.

Sadly, not a single collector of the affected districts has submitted report on this to the state government. As a result, the Food Supplies department has no conclusive data on the number of eligible beneficiaries.

Since the state government was not able to make a budgetary allocation towards compensation to the affected farmers, it had taken Rs 150 crore in advance from the state contingency fund and sanctioned it in favour of the managing director of the Odisha State Seeds Corporation (OSSC).

But since the Food Supplies department is yet to receive the list of beneficiaries, it is not in a position to make a proper estimate of the amount of compensation to be paid to these farmers, departmental sources said.

The department is now planning to go for a video conferencing with the concerned district collectors on June 10 to expedite the matter.

Prior to this exercise, the department will hold a meeting in this regard with the district civil supply officers here today, sources in the department said.

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