Odisha to issue white paper on farmer suicide

Bhubaneswar: Slammed from different quarters including its own senior leaders, ruling Biju Janata Dal today said if required, it would publish a white paper on the farmers’ suicide allegedly due to crop loss and debt burden.

“We are estimating the impact of drought on farmers. The state government will publish a white paper on the farmers’ suicide, if required,” BJD spokesman and former minister P K Deb told reporters here.

Stating that the Odisha government has received reports of 48 farmers committing suicide in the wake of the crop failure due to drought, Deb said the administration has been probing whether the peasants’ death related to agricultural crisis.

The BJD spokesman’s statement came a day after the opposition Congress and BJP demanded white paper on the farmers’ suicide incidents.

Meanwhile, Revenue Minister Bijayshree Routray in an interview to a private news channel said that he favoured a thorough probe into the allegations of farmers’ suicide taking place in the state.

Routray, however, said that proper coordination among the departments of agriculture, cooperation, revenue, water resources should be there to tackle the drought situation.

The revenue minister significantly expressed displeasure over the manner the bureaucrats are handling the sensitive matter like drought and farmers suicide cases.

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan had said, “Farmers’ suicide has already taken the shape of an epidemic in the state as every day one or two farmers (are) committing suicide while the BJD government is silent over the matter.”

Besides demanding an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh each for the farmer’s families whose kins committed suicide due to debt burden and crop loss, Harichandan had also demanded a white paper on the matter.

Earlier, ruling BJD MP Nagendra Pradhan had also expressed concern over the rising trend of suicide among the farmers.