Odisha Speaker asks for govt statement on farmer suicides

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Assembly Speaker Niranjan Pujari today directed the state government to make a statement on the alleged suicide of a farmer in Bargarh and distress sale of vegetables in different districts, by March 4.

Pujari issued the ruling after the house was paralysed for the last two days over the farmer suicide issue.

Opposition Congress raised the matter again during zero hour and Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra (Cong) called the state government “deaf and dumb” for not responding to farmers’ miseries being reported in media.

“We have a deaf and dumb government which does not react.

Shall we not consider the government as deaf and dumb? We have been shouting for two days. Are we speaking to the walls ?” he asked. If the government claims to be pro-farmer it should react, he added.

Mishra said the collector and superintendent of police of Bargarh should visit the residence of the farmer who allegedly committed suicide due to government “inaction”.

But the district authorities deputed low level revenue department officers to probe the matter, he said.

Mishra said both Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bargarh district last year and made several promises for farmers’ welfare. “But to what extent the promises have been fulfilled? This house has the right to know about the steps being taken so far for the development of farmers in the state.”

BJPLP leader K V Singhdeo, who failed to speak in the house for the last two days due to the din, today said his party wanted a detailed dicussion on the issue.

“The state government had announced Rs 100 bonus per quintal of paddy for the drought affected farmers. However, the farmers have not received any such amount,” he said.