Crop loss forces farmer to attempt suicide

Sambalpur: Pratap Bagarti, son of Sridhar Bagarti, is shocked and he is sobbing. He knows not why his father, a small farmer did like this. Why Sridhar wanted to kill himself? Sridhar has been admitted to the district headquarters hospital in Sambalpur in a critical condition. Sridhar hails from village Baiparipalli under Jujumura block in Sambalpur district.

Sridhar is not the lone hapless farmer who took the extreme step to end his life. It was his sheer good luck that Sridhar is surviving. The small farmer Sridhar had cultivated dalua(a particular variety of paddy) in his field. But twice his crop was attacked by an unknown disease. His entire crop is gone and has left him in a desperate state. Says Pratap,"The crop damage compelled him to take the extreme step. But what would have happened to us?"  

Hundreds of farmers of Kukudapalli and Dabala panchayts have been affected by the unknown disease. The disease attacks the paddy saplings and after few days the crop is lost. And the small and marginal farmers who rely upon on loans including handloans are left in the lurch. Having lost all hopes some try to end their lives even.

The officlas of the district agriculture office however claimed that efforts are on to provide medicines to the farmers at subsidised rates.Expressing his helplessness, Ashok Kumar Mohanty, deputy diretor agriculture, said,"It is not within our official capacity to provide compensations to the farmers." The farmers have demanded that the district administration should take steps to provide compensations for crop damage failing which farmers might commit suicide.