Officials of the state government have been on their toes after the office of the President of India directed the state chief secretary to submit a detailed report about the recent death of Nabi Durga, a 70-year-old farmer of Kalahandi district.
Since the directive from the office of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, which came in response to a prayer by the convener of the Western Odisha Farmers’ Union, officials – both from the district administration and the state government – have made a beeline for the farmer’s village in Dangarpada.
First, the state joint director of agriculture paid a visit to the family of the deceased on August 31 last and inquired about its condition.
This was followed by the visit of Junagarh BDO the very next day. The BDO met the wife of the deceased and provided her widow pension, besides financial help of Rs 10,000 from Red Cross.
In the time since then, the Dharamgarh sub collector and SDPO have visited the spot and submitted their probe report to the government, sources said.
It may be mentioned that Nabi Durga of Dangarpada village in Rajpur panchayat under Junagarh block in Kalahandi district, died due to exhaustion on July 7 at the mandi while waiting to sell his produce.
After receiving a token from the Primary Agricultural Cooperative Society (PACS) authorities to sell 20 quintals of paddy, Durga had been to Mundraguda mandi with 19 packets of paddy on July 1 this year.
However, his stocks were not sold even after waiting in queue for a week at the mandi, which rendered him sick. He apparently died due to exhaustion.
After his death, the PACS authorities hurriedly weighed his paddy and tried to suppress the matter.
Though paddy is purchased from farmers by the PACS authorities at the mandi, they are always dependent on the millers tagged to them due to lack of infrastructure like labourers, gunny bags, shortage of storage capacity etc.
As the millers always want profit, they deliberately delay lifting paddy from the mandi, forcing farmers to sell their paddy at below the procurement rate which can be managed by the PACS and RMC staff.
Though the Civil Supplies department monitors the mandis, such incidents occur due to lack of supervision, sources said.
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has registered a case in this connection and inquiry is on.