Dama Rejects Team Visit

 Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout today said that the proposed visit of Union Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on 12 November  as ‘Encroachment on State’s Authority.’

“The Union Minister’s visit to State, without informing the State government is a clear attempt to usurp State government’s authority,” Dr.Rout pointed out.
Minister Dr.Rout told Media here that a Union Minister can visit any state only after a formal request from that state to assess any loss.
Odisha government has made no such request to the Centre in this regard, Dr.Rout clarified and he added that “agriculture is a state subject.”
Dr.Rout also categorically denied that the State government had received any warning from the Central Rice Research Institute about possible pest attack.
Earlier, Union Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh had claimed that the State government was intimated by CRRI about the pest attack and had subsequently held discussion with CRRI experts early last month.
Dr.Rout also criticized the visit of the Central BJP Team touring several areas of the State to assess crop loss due to pest attack in several areas of the State and termed it as ‘sheer politics aimed at misguiding the public.’
“The Union Ministers and BJP leaders are recklessly issuing statements without ascertaining the facts,” Dr.Rout asserted while criticizing Union Petroleum and Natural Gas  Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
“Dharmendra has been making so many statements, But he has never spoken to me during his visit to State,” Dr.Rout clarified.
Giving details of the extent of the damage, the Agriculture Minister said the calamity is more due to global warming and change in weather patterns.
“The humidity level rose due to unseasonal rains around the Diwali festival which helped pest  to thrive,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr.Shekhawat is arriving in the State on a two-day visit with a Team of Experts.
The Team will visit Boudh, Subarnapur and Bargarh districts to assess the damage, said sources.
The Team will hold discussion with Agriculture Department officials of both the State and Union government before visiting the affected areas.
Union Minister Mr.Shekhawat is scheduled to visit the family of Brundaban Sahu who committed suicide recently after setting his pest affected crop on fire on the field, said officials sources.

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