Uproarious scenes in Odisha assembly on farmers’ suicides

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha assembly witnessed uproarious scenes for the second consecutive day on Wednesday as Congress members raised the issues of suicides by farmers and the distress sale of vegetables in the state.

Speaker Niranjan Pujari adjourned the house twice as it could not function properly due to opposition protests.

During Zero Hour, Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra blamed the Naveen Patnaik government’s “apathetic and lackadaisical attitude” for the deaths of farmers and distress sale of vegetables.

“Farmers are growing vegetables in large quantities but there is no market to sell the produce. So they had to throw it on the streets. Besides, the government has not provided cold storage facilities to them,” said Mishra.

He also blamed the November 8 demonetisation for distress sale of vegetables, saying there were no buyers due to shortage of small denomination currency.

“Both the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister visited Bargarh district in 2016 when farmers’ deaths were reported, but nothing special was announced for farmers. Similar cases have started occurring in 2017 too but the state government remains a silent spectator.”

Soon after, Congress legislators, led by party Chief Whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati, rushed to the Speaker’s podium and raised anti-government slogans.

The House was adjourned on Tuesday too as the opposition demanded compensation to farmers for crop loss and distress sale.

Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Pradeep Purohit told media persons that the ruling BJD and the opposition Congress have entered into a clandestine alliance and conspired to disrupt the house proceedings.

Reacting to a farmer’s suicide in Bargarh district, BJD MLA Sushant Singh said: “The incident took place in my constituency. The state government is inquiring to ascertain the reason.”

With ruckus in the house not subsiding the Speaker adjourned the assembly till tomorrow.