Staff Reporter

BHUBANESWAR: The issue over farmers’ suicide in western Orissa is hotting up as Biju Janata Dal on Sunday sent a three-member fact-finding team to Sagarpalli village in Jharsuguda district to meet the family members and assess the situation.

The team, led by former Speaker of Orissa Legislative Assembly and now BJD Rajya Sabha member Kishore Mohanty went to Sagarpalli for consoling the family members of the deceased farmer Gourahari Patra.

Patra committed suicide allegedly after being unable to pay back the loan he had secured. It was also alleged he did not get desired yield due to pest attacks.

Perturbed over oppositions’ attempts to make it issue, BJD decided to send a team for assuaging farmers.

A few days ago a team of high-level Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, led by State president Suresh Pujari, visited Khapsadea village in Sambalpur district where another farmer committed suicide in the first week of October 7.

However, the issue got flared up after party workers of BJP blackened the face of a senior agriculture department official in Sambalpur recently. They alleged that the official had submitted a report without visiting the house of a farmer who had committed suicide.

The visit by BJD delegation assumed significance as BJP had announced a grand plan to intensify farmer suicide case highlighting State government’s inefficiency to address the situation arising due to low rainfall and pest attack this year. The Congress had already sent its team to Sagarpalli.

Probe ordered

In view of opposition parties’ growing involvement in the issue, State Agriculture Minister Damador Rout earlier ordered an inquiry by Revenue Divisional Commissioner (northern division).