BJP, BJD engaged in tug of war over delay in settling crop insurance claims

Ahead of the Padampur by-election, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the BJP have engaged in a tug of war over the delay in the settlement of the crop insurance claims of farmers in Odisha affected due to drought during the 2021 kharif season.

Bhubaneswar:  Ahead of the Padampur by-election in Odisha, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the BJP have engaged in a tug of war over the delay in the settlement of the crop insurance claims of farmers in Odisha affected due to drought during the 2021 kharif season.

The delay in disbursing crop insurance under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and input subsidy has become a major issue in the Padampur by-poll. The drought-hit farmers of the area are protesting and have requested all the political parties not to take part in the election process until their demands are met.

To please the farmers, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on November 15 announced Rs 200 crore for the distressed farmers.

While announcing the input subsidy, Patnaik had blamed the Centre for the delay. Despite continuous follow up and pursuance by the Odisha government with the technical advisory committee (TAC) under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, many of the affected farmers have not yet received their crop insurance dues, the CM had said in a statement.

Countering Patnaik’s allegation, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has written a letter to the Odisha CM. In the letter, Tomar said that the responsibility of floating the bids for the implementation of PMFBY, allocating the cluster of districts to the insurance companies (ICs) and agreement of premium rates vests with the state government as per the norms of the Revamped Operational Guidelines (ROGs).

The responsibility of conducting transparent crop cutting experiments (CCE) through the CCE app also rests with the state government, he said.

He said that the Centre promptly responded to it and advised the state authorities to get them examined by STAC, which Odisha had not constituted despite it being part of the guidelines since 2020. “Also the GoI put up the matter before the TAC as soon as the appeals against STAC order were received and the matter was taken to its logical conclusion,” Tomar wrote.

The Union Minister informed that after due follow up, the majority of claims in the disputed districts have been settled at the TAC and complete settlement is expected by this week. In the nine disputed districts, Rs 723 crore is the total payable claim out of which Rs 622 crores has been settled.

Addressing media persons, BJD MP Sasmit Patra alleged that the letter of Tomar is flawed, faulty and is based on distorted facts and half-truths. The letter does not mention the CM’s letter and state cooperation minister’s meeting with him.

“Now the farmers of Padampur and Odisha know that the PMFBY as the name goes is naturally of the Centre and only the Centre can take the final decision on any claims as admitted in the Centre’s letter today and only they can direct the insurance companies to pay the Fasal Bima. The state has no role as far as the final decision is concerned,” Patra said.

(IANS)

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