Youth ends life over ‘corruption’ in govt scheme; video shot before suicide goes viral

Khurda: Despite tall claims of Odisha government on corruption-free governance, a youth allegedly ended his life after failing to get benefits under rural housing scheme due to corruption and bribery at the block-level. The shocking incident has been reported from Nirakarpur Patanasahi in Khurda district and the deceased has been identified as Laxmidhar Behera. Moreover, Laxmidhar had shot a video narrating his plight just before he took the extreme step and the same has now gone viral on social media.

In the video, Laxmidhar has alleged that block employees demanded bribe of Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 for sanctioning a pucca house under the government’s rural housing scheme.

“From BDO to sarpanch and even ruling-BJD leaders, I had approached everybody. But nobody listened to me. The officials asked me to pay Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000. From where I can arrange the money as I work as labourer. Many may have got benefits from CM Naveen Patnaik and BJD, but I have not got any help,” Laxmidhar is seen saying in the video.

According to reports, Laxmidhar’s body was recovered near Gahiradia canal yesterday and it is suspected that he committed suicide.

“For last three years, my husband was incurring losses in agriculture and also had a loan burden of over Rs 1 lakh. Our house was also damaged,” said deceased Laxmidhar’s wife, Basanti.

Sudarshan Sethi, a local resident stated, “Influential people are availing government’s welfare schemes but poor are running from pillar to post and ending their lives. We urge the State government to ensure that such incidents do not recur and eligible beneficiaries are not deprived or left out from any government schemes.”

Later in the day, a BJP delegation led by Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan visited Khurda and met the family members of deceased Laxmidhar.

“It is unfortunate as the incident was reported some 40 to 50 kms away from State capital. According to family members, the deceased had completed his BA and was not getting work and had a loan of Rs 1.5 lakh. In the video, the youth has raised several questions which speaks volumes about rampant corruption,” said Pradhan.

Pradhan further alleged that despite being entitled, the youth did not get any assistance and was asked for bribe.

“Odisha government has become insensitive towards the plight of people. Chief Minister has been stressing on 3 Ts, Transparency, Technology and Team Work, but things are totally different on the ground.”

Khurda Collector Nirmal Mishra on the other hand stated that the entire incident will be investigated.

“We will look into the matter. But preliminary investigations reveal that a house was sanctioned to the beneficiary. Had there been allegations of bribery, we would have definitely taken action,” said Mishra. Mishra further informed that a detailed probe will be initiated to ascertain who demanded bribe from the youth.