Bhubaneswar, Nov 6:
Amid a spate of suicides by farmers across Odisha due to prevailing drought situation, politics over the issue is gradually gathering momentum while the affected families are left to fend for themselves.
Two more distressed farmers on Friday ended their lives in Nabarangpur district, family sources said. But there was no official confirmation of the suicides.
Apparently finding it tough to tackle the growing political heat on the issue, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has asked leaders of his Biju Janata Dal (BJD) to stand by the farmers.
The Odisha unit of the Congress on Friday staged a demonstration and raised ‘Chasi Banchao’ (Save farmer) slogans at all 314 block development offices across the state to protest Odisha government’s failure in tackling drought-like situation and in checking rising incidents of farmers’ suicide.
“The state government has completely failed to tackle the drought situation. While farmers are committing suicide due to crop loss and loan burden, the government has remained apathetic towards the plight of the farmers,” said Congress state unit president Prasad Harichandan.
BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra said neither ministers nor government officials were visiting the affected areas to take stock of the situation while the toll in the state has already crossed 60.
The BJP demanded a magisterial inquiry into all suicide cases of farmers.
Coming under continuous attack from the opposition, the chief minister directed the BJD leaders to meet farmers and solve their problems.
“It is our moral responsibility to stand by our farmers who are facing trouble due to drought situation in the kharif season. Go to the grassroots, acquaint yourself with the problems of the farmers and try to solve their problems,” Patnaik told his partymen.
He also asked the party leaders to make people aware about the drought package announced by the state government.
With the opposition parties blaming the government for unabated farmer suicide cases, the chief minister said they were indulging in cheap politics.
While 139 blocks in 21 districts are facing drought situation, the government has announced Rs.1,000 crore package to mitigate the drought situation in the state. (IANS)