Odisha government slammed over farmers’ suicides

Bhubaneswar, Nov 25 (IANS) The opposition Congress and the BJP on Wednesday hit out at the Odisha government for failing to give proper assurance to drought-hit farmers, forcing them to commit suicide due to crop loss and debt burden.

Union Tribal Affairs Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Jual Oram said the state government has failed to address the drought issue properly.

“The state government has failed to give proper assurance and instil confidence among the drought hit farmers forcing them to commit suicide. Besides the officials, till date, have not met any farmers of the drought-hit districts to know their problems,” Oram told reporters here.

He also said he would meet the union agriculture minister and apprise him about the situation in the state.

With the state government refuting the allegations that farmers have committed suicide due to debt burden even as it admitted 111 farmers committed suicide in the state, the minister said it has been found that in most of the cases the farmers committed suicide after failing to repay the loan to either the cooperative banks or moneylenders.

Asking the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) to be more serious about the issue instead of indulging in politics, he said the government has indirectly admitted that farmers have committed suicide due to loan burden.

Meanwhile, the state Congress on Wednesday organised a public hearing attended by a former justice, a former bureaucrat and an eminent social activist.

A total of 16 families of deceased farmers gave vent to their grievances at the public hearing.

“The state government is hoodwinking the people by only submitting a memorandum to Centre seeking drought assistance. As per the rules and norms, the state would only get Rs.400 crore against the demand of Rs.1,687 crore,” said Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Prasad Harichandan.

He also demanded an inquiry into the farmer suicides by Human Rights Commission.

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