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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Reasons behind the death of Bargarh farmer Brunda Sahu are not clear, said Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout today after receiving a report from the district collector and SP today.

Rout further said when the Collector questioned the family members of the deceased farmer they said that Sahu had not taken any bank loans for farming. Besides, he had multiple accounts in different banks.

“On October 31, Sahu ate breakfast, and later visited his farmland and set the crops on fire. The family members came to know about the incident only from TV,” said Rout.

Sahu had cultivated paddy in 16 acres of farmland of which six acres were damaged due to the pest attack, Rout said, adding that the farmer had torched crops in 18 decimal land.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today chaired a review meeting on crop loss and farmer issues at the State Secretariat.

The State’s Agriculture department submitted a memorandum to Union Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat seeking a financial package of Rs 1713.75 lakh.

For establishment of a regional pesticide testing centre and crop pest surveillance, Odisha has sought Rs 785.50 crore, Rs 594.96 crore for Fisheries and Animal Resources, Rs 320 crore for Water Resources department, Rs 5.40 lakh for OUAT and Rs 7.89 crore for the Odisha Agro Industries Corporation.

Agriculture Secretary Saurabh Garg stated, “We hope to get a positive response from the Centre soon.”

Earlier in the day, Rout said, “Shekhawat’s claim that the State government had not informed the Centre is not true.”

He alleged that the BJP is only playing politics over farmer issues in the State.

Refuting the charges, BJP legislature party leader KV Singh Deo said, “The situation aggravated only because of the lackadaisical attitude of the State government. The Centre never wants to violate the State’s rights.”

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