Farmer suicides: Govt in soup as MP Patsani demands white paper

Bhubaneswar: In what may further embarrass the Naveen Patnaik-led Odisha government over the unabated farmer suicide cases in the State, parliamentarian Prasanna Patsani today demanded that the government should publish a white paper on the burning issue.

Patsani, known for his vociferousness was the fourth leader of the ruling party after his colleague MPs Nagendra Pradhan, Pinaki Mishra and legislator Pramila Mallick made responsible the State government for failing to act in time on the issue.

“In some cases (read farmer suicide) the moneylenders increased the loan burden by calculating compound interest, and in some sharecroppers have ended lives due to some or other reasons. Unfortunately, all the death cases have been linked to crop loss and loan burden. So a white paper on the death cases can only clarify,” the parliamentarian said.

Accepting that some death cases are due to crop failure, Patsani stated an inquiry must be done on all the recent death cases reported in various parts of the State.

“There must be an inquiry (on deaths of farmers) so that the exact reason behind the deaths will come out,” he noted.
The parliamentarian’s comment has put the State government in the dock after similar recent comments from Mishra, Pradhan and Mallick.

A week ago Puri MP Mishra said he was aware of a case where a peasant took the extreme step as he was unable to repay loan taken from a moneylender.

Prior to Mishra, Sambalpur MP Nagendra Pradhan also had rejected the state government’s claim that farmers did not commit suicide due to crop loss and debt burden.

“I do not know what district collectors’ report say. But, I can say that farmers committed suicide out of frustration and loan burden,” Pradhan had said.

Similarly two days ago, BJD’s women’s wing president Pramila Mallick had drawn flak for her ‘insensitive’ ‘Amaar Laddoo’ comment on the issue.

Meanwhile ruling partymen’s acceptance that the State government is responsible for the farmer suicide cases, prompted the Opposition parties to train guns on the Patnaik government.

“Since the senior leaders of the ruling party have accepted government’s failure in the issue, it must publish a white paper as soon as possible,” leader of opposition Narasingh Mishra said.

Commenting on the issue, BJP spokesperson Suresh Pujari said, “Instead of taking steps to contain the situation, it is unfortunate that the ruling party leaders are making adverse comments.”

However, quashing the allegations BJD spokesperson Sameer Dash said, “The State government is taking proper steps in favour of the farmers.”