Three more farmers end life in a day, fumed Cong to stage demo

Bhubaneswar: Despite attractive sops declared by State government for drought-hit and debt-ridden ryots, farmer suicides refused to die down in the State as the unfortunate incidents are reported every other day from different parts of the State.

Three more peasants ended lives in a day due to alleged crop failure and heavy loan burden in Cuttack, Nayagarh and Bargarh districts on Monday.

Shankar Behera of Athagarh in Cuttack, Laxmikant Bhatt of Raipada village in Nayagarh and Thikadar Sahu of Sohela in Bargarh district took the drastic steps in a similar manner by consuming poison over apparent crop loss and debt burden.

Behera, a farmer of Mahalaxmipur village near Athgarh, drank pesticide on Monday morning and was admitted to SCB medical college and hospital in Cuttack where he died during treatment. Similarly, Family members of Laxmidhar Bhatt rushed him to SCB after being informed that unable to bear the burden of loan he consumed poison. However, doctors declared him dead hours after admission.

In another incident, Thikadar Sahu, unable to bear mental stress over heavy crop failure and loan burden, consumed poison on October 29. He was taken to Burla hospital in a serious condition. However, doctors could not save him even after he battled for three days for life. He died in the wee hours of Monday.

On the other hand, another peasant attempted suicide by drinking pesticide in front of the office of Dhenkanal collector on Monday. He has been identified as Asish Mallik of Gunthikateni under Bhuban block in the district. He is undergoing treatment at district headquarters hospital.

Meanwhile, requesting the farmers not to commit suicide under any circumstances, Odisha Congress decided to stage demonstration at all block offices in the State on November 6.

Addressing a press meet at Congress Bhawan here, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Prasad Harichandan said the party has decided to stage demonstration in front of all blocks protesting against the callousness attitude of government.

“The Congress party requests the farmers not to take such extreme steps under any circumstances. Congress is always with farmers and will be with the farming community forever”, Harichandan said. The party also observed a 12-hour bandh in Deogarh district demanding State government to declare Deogarh district as complete drought-hit. Normal life came to a standstill due to the bandh.

Similarly, fact-finding team of BJP headed by senior leader Bijay Mohapatra, which visited the drought affected areas of Gunpur in Rayagada district on Sunday, discussed with the farmers suffering from heavy crop loss due to scanty rainfall in Khandhamal district on Monday. The team visited dry lands of Simanbadi, Paburia and Kainjhar villages of the district and met peasants.

Notably, State government on October 29 admitted that 41 farmers committed suicide in the State since September, but declined to recognise crop failure as the reason of suicide.

While 41 farmers, according to government reports, killed self, unofficial estimate put the suicide toll beyond 50.

Highest numbers of farmers have ended their lives in western Odisha. As many as 15 farmers have so far taken extreme steps in Bargarh district due to apparent crop failure while neighbouring Bolangir follows with four deaths. Similarly, other two neighbouring districts Sambalpur and Nuapada have accounted three cases each.