By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, July 8, 2018: In a bid to quell unrest ahead of the crucial general elections next year, political parties are virtually competing to announce more farmer-friendly sops like never before.

The farm debt waivers in the country alone is pegged in excess of Rs 2.7 lakh crore.

Now in Odisha, union ministers and state BJP leaders Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday announced at a meeting of the party’s Krushak Morcha (farmers’ wing) to waive farm loan if the saffron party is voted to power in the state in 2019.

“There will be double engines of growth, one at the Centre and another in the state. The farm loan will be immediately waived after BJP comes to power here,” Oram said in the meeting.

Accusing the Naveen Patnaik government for not keeping its promise to give bonus of Rs 100 per quintal of paddy as promised, Pradhand said that the BJP governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharahstra had waived farm loans.

If the BJP forms government in Odisha, it will do the same, Pradhan assured.

Pradhan hailed the Narendra Mod government at the centre saying that the minimum support price (MPS) for various farm produces were significantly increased by the government.

BJD spokesperson Amar Prasad Satpathy, however questioned the Modi government’s sincereity towards farmers, “Farm loan waiver is not the only way for farmers’ prosperity. The Naveen government has initiated series of measures. Farm loan is being given at one per cent interest. Long before the BJP thought of sharecroppers, the state government has already taken steps to provide bank loans to sharecroppers,” Satpathy said.

Satpathy described the Modi government as anti-Odisha saying that MSP for paddy was increased by only Rs 200 to make it Rs 1750 per quintal causing huge loss to farmers in Odisha who mainly produce paddy. MSP of many other farm produces were raised significantly, he said. The state government has been demanding Rs 2930 per quintal MSP per quintal of paddy.

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