Farmer suicides continue, ministers face protest in districts

Bhubaneswar: In the backdrop of farmers committing suicide across the State, ministers in the Odisha government are facing protest-demonstrations during their visit to the districts.

As many as 15 BJP workers were today detained on the charge of opposing the visit of Industries and School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra, Energy Minister Pranab Prakas Das and Finance Minister Pradip Kumar Amat to Boudh district, District Superintendent of Police Buttula Gangadhar said.

All the ministers were in Boudh district to review implementation of different programmes of their respective departments.

“The crop loss in Boudh district as per primary assessment based on eye estimation was 33 per cent. Now it seems to be over 66 per cent. We will be able to know the accurate figure only after crop cutting. The State government has already declared Rs 1000 package and it will be disbursed soon,” Mishra said.

Yesterday, two other ministers – Agriculture Minister Pradeep Kumar Maharathy and Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Sudam Marandi – were shown black flags by supporters of opposition political parties during their visit to Balangir and Ganjam districts respectively. In another incident, Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Sudam Marandi faced an embarrassing situation during his visit to Ganjam district yesterday. Some BJP workers blocked Marandi’s road and showed black flags to him.

At least six farmers have allegedly committed suicide in Balangir district alone, out of 48 cases of farmer suicide received by the state government.

Today two peasants took extreme steps allegedly due to crop failure and burden of agriculture loan. The deceased have been identified as Bishnu Mahi of Bijadiha village under Paikamal block of Bargarh district and Arjun Chalan of Chalanguda village in Umerkote.