Farmer suicide: Oppn demands arrest of Balangir sub collector

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Assembly on Tuesday witnessed uproarious scene over the suicide of a farmer of Harabhanga village in Balangir district with the Opposition Congress members demanding immediate arrest of Balangir sub collector.

Drawing the attention of the Speaker through a special mention during Zero Hour, Leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra and Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati said the sub collector is responsible for the death of the farmer and demanded his immediate arrest.

Mishra said the farmers of Harabhanga village had requested the tehsildar and the sub collector to provide compensation to them after their crops and vegetables were completely damaged by the hail storm. But they did not take any step.

“As alleged by the farmers, the reply of the sub collector seemed as if they were telling lie as the crops are not damaged and so the government will not provide any assistance to them. The farmers also alleged that the sub collector, instead of assuring them of help, asked them as to why they had grown summer crops. Dejected by the reply of the sub collector, one of the farmers, Nandighosh Barik, later committed suicide. We have demanded a thorough investigation into the matter and sought a reply from the government as to why the affected farmers have not been provided compensation till date,” he added.

“We demand immediate arrest of the sub collector and a manslaughter case against him. The chief minister has to give a clarification on this matter,” he said.

Supporting their demand, BJP member KV Singhdeo demanded early investigation into the matter and sought a clarification to this effect from the state government within 48 hours.

“I have a feeling that that the state government has given instructions to the SPs and police officers not to register any complaints in which the government may get embarrassed.

“The state government is in no mood to accept the farmer suicides in the state. The government has to furnish a reply on the floor of House within 48 hours as per the Rules of Business. Let us wait and see what reply the government is going to place,” Singhdeo told newsmen later.

In his reply, BJD spokesperson Pratap Jena said the Balangir collector and SP are now investigating into the matter. “If anyone is found responsible for the death of the farmer, action will be taken against him as per law,” he pointed out.

BJD spokesperson Dibya Shankar Mishra said the state government has taken note of the issue raised by the Leader of the Opposition. “The government will ask the Balangir collector to probe into the matter to ascertain the veracity,” he added.