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Odishatv Bureau

Bargarh: Even as Bargarh farmer Brunda Sahu’s death has triggered an outcry, Odisha government’s denial that the farmer’s death was a case of suicide due to crop loss and financial burden has drawn sharp criticism.

Earlier on Wednesday, Agriculture minister Damodar Rout, citing the probe report on Brunda's death submitted by the district administration ruled out indebtedness as the cause behind the farmer’s death. The comments drew sharp criticism from both the opposition parties and Brunda's family members.

Brunda's daughter said "District administration did not carry out a detailed investigation. So how would they know about our personal debt? The entire state knows that my father died out of frustration after not getting due compensation for crop loss. So if the government conducts such probe then it is very saddening and unfortunate.”

The report by the Bargarh district administration stated that the immediate reasons which led Brunda to consume poison are not known either to his family members or his relatives. The report said that Brunda had also not taken loans from any bank or society but had availed loans of Rs 3 to 4 lakhs from private moneylenders for agriculture. Moreover, the deceased farmer also did not have any land of his own but rather cultivated about 16.05 acres of land out of which nearly 6.58 acres were affected by pests.

During the course of enquiry it was established that family members of the deceased could not name the moneylenders and neither could produce any documents related to it. So it seems that his death may not have been due to indebtedness, the report said.

However, such blatant denial by the Odisha government has not gone down well with the opposition parties.

"In the upcoming session of the Assembly, we will raise the farmer suicide issue and grill the government," Congress MLA Naba Das said.

Similarly, BJP also blamed the government saying that it has intentionally manipulated the report.

Taking a dig at Agriculture Minister's comments, Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, "Does one essentially need to take loans for getting compensation. People in the government should stop making such irresponsible comments."

Taking the fight to the opposition, minister Rout today said that the saffron party is intentionally trying to gain political mileage from the issue but very soon the truth will be out in the open.

Dharmendra Pradhan has no moral authority to speak on this issue since he is busy in fighting against the rights and welfare of Odisha all along, he said.

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