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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Most of the farmers who committed suicide in Odisha during the last two years carried loan burden, informed Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout in the Odisha Assembly today.

In written reply to a question, Rout stated out of the 16 farmers who had allegedly committed suicide in the financial year 2016-17, 12 had loans outstanding. Similarly, eight out of the 14 farmers who allegedly committed suicide during the period April 2017 till date, had taken loans.

As per the report, in the current financial year most farmer deaths were reported from Bargarh. Six farmers had committed suicide in the district, out of which three had taken loan for agricultural purposes.

One each among the three deceased farmers in Ganjam and two farmers in Sambalpur, who have committed suicide during this period, had also availed loan for cultivation.

Besides, three farmers, who committed suicide, one each in Dhenkanal, Jajpur & Rayagada districts, had also taken loans, read the report.

Rout also said that share-croppers in the State might be committing suicides due to exploitation by the land owners as even during crop loss they are under the obligation to give a certain amount of their produce to the land owner.

"In some places share-croppers are cultivating land of other persons with an agreement to give five to seven quintals of produce per acre. He is bound to give the agreed amount of produce even during crop loss. Farmers could be committing suicide due to such exploitation," said the Minister.

In a bid to check such exploitation, the government has announced agriculture input subsidy to the share-croppers or the actual cultivators, he added.

Also Read: Odisha consistently ranks among top in attracting investments: Naveen

While the State government had earlier denied any links of farmer deaths with crop loss and loan burden; it became opposition’s target after the Agriculture minister revealed the stats.
"They should accept farmer suicides and admit the reasons rather than presenting various false reports. At least, they agreed farmers had taken loans," said Congress MLA Nabakishore Das.

A farmer could not have committed suicide without any pressure or despair; the truth will come to the fore one day, he added.

Earlier on November 29, in a written reply to a question of Congress MLA Bhujabal Majhi, Rout had said a total of 11 farmer suicide cases and seven alleged ones were probed in 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively. However, the probe report mentions no deaths related to farming issues, Rout had maintained.

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