Pradeep Pattanayak

The death of a farmer in Boudh district on Thursday rocked the Odisha Assembly on Friday, leaving the BJD-led dispensation in a soup. 

Dharani Meher, a farmer of Jamaghati village in Boudh district, had got his token to sell his 56 quintals of paddy on January 25. Unbeknownst to his fate, he took his paddy to the mandi. But the paddy packets of the farmers including him were not procured. The angry farmers even staged a protest demonstration on February 20, but to no avail. 

Over this, Dharini had been under severe mental stress. Unable to cope with the situation, he collapsed in the mandi itself.  Though he was rushed to nearby Baunsuni government hospital, the doctors there declared him received dead. 
His last rites were performed today. 

Deceased Dharani’s son Kshirod alleged his father died due to depression.

“We have taken loans to grow paddy. While the last date of paddy procurement was approaching and our paddy crops were lying in the mandi, my father was under severe mental tension,” alleged Kshirod. 

On the other hand, his paddy was procured hastily today, the last date of the procurement. 

Today the Assembly started with an uproarious note with the Opposition leaders cornering the government over the farmer death issue. Finding no option left, the Speaker had to adjourn the house till 11 am. The zero hour also witnessed a similar situation in the House. 

“Before taking the extreme step, he (Dharani) had said he was under severe mental stress as money lenders were asking him to repay the loans. He had said that the government was not thinking about him. He committed suicide by consuming poison,” alleged Congress leader Tara Prasad Bahinipati. 

“In spite of having token, farmers are not able to sell their paddy crops. Consequently, they are committing suicide. We have been demanding for abolishment of the token system. Instead, the power should be given to District Level Procurement Committee (DLPC) to procure paddy as earlier it was being done,” said Nauri Nayak, BJP MLA.

Responding to it, BJD MLA Amar Satpathy said, “If there are issues including farmer issue, they should discuss it with the government. People wouldn’t forgive them for the way they are disrupting the proceedings of the House.”


(Reported by Rabindra Hota, Harihar Chand and Jagdish Dash, OTV) 

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