Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 24:
Odisha Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy today appealed to the farmers across the state not to resort to extreme step of committing suicide due to crop loss and loan burden as it would declare additional drought package for the affected farmers, if need be.
Reacting to the reports of unabated farmer suicides in the state, Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy said: “The department would submit its final report by November 1st week. I appeal all the farmers to have patience and trust on the government and not to commit suicide. The state government would announce additional package, if need be.”
Maharathy said this while on his tour to the drought-hit Bolagarh and Begunia.
It may be recalled that earlier on Oct 14, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had announced drought assistance to the farmers facing crop loss of 33 percent and above.
As many as 123 blocks in 16 districts have been drought-hit in the state. Balasore, Boudh, Jajpur, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Keonjhar, Khurda, Mayurbhanj, Nabarangpur, Nayagarh, Puri, Subarnapur, Bolangir, Nuapada, Jharsuguda and Bargarh have been declared as drought-affected districts due to scanty rainfall.
The 123 blocks in the 16 districts facing drought-like situation have suffered crop loss of more than 33 percent and will be covered under the Rs.1,000 crore special package announced by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Revenue & Disaster Management Minister Bijoyshree Routray had said.
With farmer suicides continuing in the state unabated, Pradesh Congress Committee president Prasad Harichandan today asked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy to meet the family members of the deceased and announced adequate compensation to them.
“Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy should visit the family members of the deceased farmers. Besides, the state government should announce compensation to the slain farmer,” Harichandan said.
Notably, three more farmers today ended life by consuming poison in Jajpur and Cuttack districts. The duo had taken the extreme step due to loan burden and crop loss.
Debendra Mohapatra of Khetrapal village under Dharmasala police station had consumed pesticide four days ago. He was admitted to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack in a serious condition. After struggling for last four days he could not be saved and was declared dead by the doctors.
The other case of farmer suicide was that of one Hadibandhu Mallick reported from Cuttack district. The deceased identified as Hadibandhu Mallick from Kumarpur village under Gurudijhatia police station limits in the district had consumed poison yesterday after which he was admitted to SCB Medical College and Hospital here for treatment.
However, he lost the battle against death and breathed his last at the government-run hospital today.
As per reports, Mallick, a sharecropper, had cultivated paddy on nearly four acre land. Due to deficient rainfall, the crops were damaged following which he was under duress.
He took to the extreme step after realising that there are remote chances of repaying debts incurred for the agricultural purpose.
Farmer Ramesh Rout of Nayanand village in Bhadrak district also died after he consumed poison.