Odisha govt admits that 41 farmers committed suicide

October 29, 2015 04:29 pm | Updated 04:30 pm IST - BHUBANESWAR

Odisha government on Thursday admitted that 41 farmers committed suicide in the State since September, but declined to recognise crop failure as trigger for suicides.

While 41 farmers, according to government reports, committed suicide, unofficial estimate put the suicide toll beyond 50.

Highest numbers of farmers have ended their lives in Bargarh, an agriculturally-rich district. As many as 15 farmers have so far taken extreme steps in the district due to apparent crop failure. Neighbouring Bolangir district follows with four deaths while other two neighbouring districts Sambalpur and Nuapada, all in western region, have accounted three suicides each.

“We have received reports of 41 farmer suicide cases from different district collectors. The State government is now examining these reports,” said G.V.V. Sarma, Special Relief Commissioner, here on Wednesday.

The SRC said the government was not going to examine farmer suicide case by case, but steps would be taken for holistic development agriculture in the State.

“Eye estimate reports say there has been loss of crop more than 33 per cent in 139 blocks of 21 districts in the State. As per Odisha Relief Code, a detailed crop cutting experiment is being conducted which would enable to provide village-level information on exact loss of crop,” said Mr. Sarma.

“Once the crop cutting experiment report is received and accepted, farmers will be provided relief from State Disaster Relief Fund. We are taking steps accordingly,” he said.

Unofficial estimates, however, put the farmer suicides at more than 50. The suicide spree that started from Bargarh district in early September during which Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi >had taken out a ‘Save Farmer’ rally in the district.

It soon spread to other district like Sambalpur and Bolangir. There were also reports of farmer suicides in coastal districts of Cuttack and Jajpur and northern district of Keonjhar. Report of farmer suicides came thick and fast during mid October during which no day had passed without an incident of farmer suicide.

With pressure building up on Naveen Patnaik government over farmer suicide, attempts were allegedly being made not to admit farmer suicides as a result of crop failure, but it was due to burden of loan obtained from private money lenders and host of other personal reasons.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday also announced to take stringent action against private money lenders who had lent farmers loan at high interest rate, besides urging scheduled commercial banks to suspend collection of loan repayments.

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