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Farmer suicides: Odisha Assly House Committee to visit Bargarh on May 8

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 25:

Standing Committee-II of the Odisha Assembly will visit Bargarh on May 8 for four days to probe into allegations of farmer suicides in the district.

The Standing Committee-II led by its Chairperson Pramila Mallick will probe into allegations of incorrect reports submitted by the district administration in connection with farmer suicides in the district, official sources said.

The Committee which will stay in Bargarh from May 8 to 11 will investigate why farmers were committing suicides and under what circumstances, the sources added.

A meeting was held at the Assembly premises today in this connection which was attended by members of all parties, the sources further said.

Notably, Odisha Assembly Speaker Niranjan Pujari on March 21 ended a logjam of six days in the House by ordering for a probe in the death of farmer Khainu Bagarti alias Hadu Bagarti by ordering a probe by Standing Committee-II.

The Committee has 12 members comprising of MLAs from all parties.

Headed by senior BJD member Pramila Mallick the Committee has three MLAs from Congress and a lone MLA from BJP as its members.

The Speaker in his ruling had asked the Committee to do a detailed investigation into the matter and submit its report in the House in the next session of the Assembly.

Opposition Congress and BJP members in Assembly had demanded a House Committee probe into the death of Bagarti and other farmers.

Congress members had also demanded suspension of Bargarh district Collector, who in an earlier report had claimed that Bagarti had committed suicide, but for some other reason which had no link with crop failure or debt burden.

The Congress had served a privilege notice against state Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment Minister Pradeep Maharathy accusing him of misleading the Assembly on the suicide of Bagarti.

Maharathy in a statement on March 4 had said the farmer had committed suicide after a dispute with his wife.

Bagarti had consumed pesticide on February 26 and subsequently died at a hospital on February 28. The Minister has admitted that the farmer had incurred a loan of Rs 18,818 from the Cooperative Service Society.

However, Kalabati, wife of the deceased farmer had denied any quarrel with her husband and had claimed Bagarti committed suicide because of crop failure and loan burden.