Congress paralyses Assembly over death of farmers, vegetable distress sale

Bhubaneswar: Following death of a farmer late last night, who had consumed poison saddened due to crop loss in Bargarh district, Congress legislators today created uproar in the State Assembly leading to adjournments in the House proceedings twice while holding the ruling party accountable for the death of farmers in Odisha and distress sale of vegetables.

During a discussion on the issue of farmers in zero hour after an adjournment till 11.30 am for the first time today, the Congress members rushed to the House well shouting slogans against the State government and demanded compensation for families of the farmers who had taken the extreme step due to crop loss. Unable to run the House, Speaker adjourned the proceedings till 3 pm for second time today.

Earlier in the day, as soon as the House assembled for the Question Hour debate, Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati stood near the seat and shouted slogans denouncing the State government for the death of farmers and demanding ex-gratia for the bereaved families.

Subsequently Bahinipati was joined by other party legislators shouting anti-BJD slogans asking for the Chief Minister’s statement on the issues in the House. As the Opposition din continued, the Speaker had adjourned the House till 11.30 am.

Also read: Ruckus in Odisha Assembly over distress sale of vegetables

Talking to newsmen, Opposition leader Narasingha Mishra said, “In case the government is accepting the farmer’s death cases in the State, it is a welcome step. However, they should take some concrete actions, instead of giving statements only. First of all, the government should declare the farmer deaths were due to the agriculture-related issues and provide compensation to the bereaved families.”

He further stated, “Though both the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister had visited Bargarh district in 2016 when the farmer death cases were reported, nothing special was made for the farmers. Again similar cases have started occurring in 2017. Despite the farmer deaths, the State government is a silent spectator,” adding the silence of the other Opposition party BJP in the House today on the issue surprised him a lot.

Commenting on the din created by the Congress MLAs, BJD spokesperson and legislator Samir Das said, “As there is a bumper harvest of tomato this year, number of consumers is not in the same proportion in the State leading to the poor pricing of tomato.”

Also read: PM’s statement triggers protest in Odisha Assembly

Das added, “Though no one is denying the fact that farmers should get profits for their agriculture produce, the low pricing trend of vegetables is going on across the country.”

Commenting on the farmer deaths, Das said, “In the past, the issue was discussed in the House. As it has been found not all the farmer suicides are related to agriculture, further action will be taken by the State government after getting a report from  the district administration.”

Refuting the allegations made by Congress regarding BJP’s silence during the opposition against the State government on the farmer deaths, the saffron party legislator Pradip Purohit said, “During the question hour, the chief minister would have given his statement in the House on the farmer suicides, had there not been a nexus between the ruling party and the Congress to not let the House run. In reality, a debate today in the House would have unmasked the State government and shown the errors in the agriculture policy.”