Bhubaneswar: An increase of 142 percent in farmers' suicide in Odisha has been reported by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), said Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare Radha Mohan Singh today in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.
In a written reply to a question put to him in the Upper House, Singh stated the rate of farmers' suicide in India has declined by 9.77 percent in comparison to 2015. However, the picture of Odisha is completely different as the suicide rate of tenant farmers or share croppers has increased by 142 percent as compared to 2015.
In total, 50 farmers committed suicide in 2015 out of which 27 were share croppers. But in 2016, the figure nearly quadrupled to 101 and in total 121 farmers had committed suicide in the year, informed Singh quoting NCRB data.
He further stated that there has been an increase in farmers' suicide in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat as well in contrast to other States.
While Congress has raised doubt over the figures, BJP has criticised the State government for it.
"I am not sure about the facts presented by the Central Government but farmers' suicide in Odisha is definitely increasing day by day. Farmers are facing a lot of problems," said Leader of Opposition (LoP) Narasingha Mishra.
"What is more unfortunate to know that while the rate of farmers' suicide has decreased by 10 percent across India, it has increased by 142 percent in Odisha. Such a situation has risen because the State government is not ready to accept the facts," said BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra.
"An enquiry is underway as ordered by the State government because probe is mandatory when death of a farmer is claimed to be suicide. Political debate on the issue is not acceptable," said government chief whip Amar Prasad Satpathy.
On the other hand the Odisha government is still silent on the probe into the death of Bargarh farmer Hadu Bagarti, who had allegedly committed suicide on 28 February last year.
The Speaker had constituted a House Committee after opposition Congress and BJP members disrupted the proceedings of the Odisha Assembly for six days.
"The leaders and ministers are forgetting us at a time when we are facing problems in sustaining our livelihood. It would have been better if the government had provided some support," said son of deceased farmer Hadu Bagarti, Anant.
"The Speaker, as per rules of the Assembly, will order the committee to probe and submit report. But those who are targeting the government based on one incident are bending the truth," said Satpathy.
As per the facts presented by the Union Agriculture Minister in the Rajya Sabha, nearly 31 farmers in the country are committing suicide daily. While 12,602 farmers had committed suicide in 2015 across India, the number was at 11,370 in 2017.