Farmer Suicides Continue Unabated In Odisha As Another Producer Ends Life

Balasore: While the Odisha government continues to be on a denial mode stating that there has been no cases of farmer suicide due to crop loss or financial burden, a farmer allegedly committed suicide by consuming pesticide in Padmapur village under Chandipur police limits of the district.

As per reports, the deceased farmer, Sumant Kumar Behera, had taken taken loan from private sources to grow crop on his five acre of land. But due to the drought-like situation in the region following erratic monsoon this season, he suffered extensive crop loss. Unable to bear the mental pressure due to loss in his cultivation, and rising debt burden, he took the extreme step, allege family members of the deceased.

“He took the extreme step after coming under the pressure of debt. He had spoke to me about his difficulties,” brother of the deceased, Satyabrata Behera said.

Inspector-in-charge of Chandipur Police Station, Minati Biswal, said, “I was informed about the death of one Sumant Kumar Behera. His body has been sent for post mortem and only after an investigation we will be able to tell the exact reason behind the death.”

In a written reply to the Odisha Assembly on July 17, the State Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment Minister Arun Sahoo had said that a total of 38 farmers have committed suicide in the last three financial years upto March 2019, but none of the case seems to have any link to crop loss or debt burden.

“In 2016-2017 fiscal, 16 cases of alleged farmer suicide were reported followed by 20 in 2017-18 and two during 2018-19. Such allegations were probed by respective district administrations but none of them was found owing to crop loss or financial burden,” Sahoo had said.

Surprisingly, at a time when the cases of farmer suicide continue to rise in an agrarian State like Odisha, the government is yet to conclude almost 80 per cent of such cases even after three years as the post-mortem reports are still under scrutiny.