Posts filed under ‘Farmer Suicide’
SAMBALPUR: A 25-year-old farmer has committed suicide allegedly because of crop loss at Belbahali in Bargarh district. The death of the farmer, Keshab Chhatar, on Wednesday night came within a week of a similar incident at another village in the same district.
Villagers said Keshab was spotted in a critical condition after he consumed pesticide late on Wednesday. He was taken to the district headquarters hospital in Bargarh town but died during treatment.
“Heavy crop loss was the cause of his suicide. He had taken loans to the tune of Rs 25,000 from various sources. He had been depressed over the past few days as he was worried about the debt burden. Unable to find an alternative, he took this extreme step to end his misery,” said former Belbahali sarpanch Prafulla Nayak. He owned 2.5 acres of cultivated land in the village, Nayak added.
Villagers said the deceased was the sole breadwinner of his family comprising his 60-year-old widowed mother and a brother. “My other son has been ailing for a long time and Keshab was the only source of income. Now I do not know how to run the family without him,” said Keshab’s mother Bati Chhatar.
Bargarh collector Bhabagrahi Mishra confirmed the incident and said he has directed Sadar tehsildar to submit a report immediately. “Action will be initiated once the report is submitted to me,” the collector added.
Meanwhile, police have registered an unnatural death case and handed over the body to the family after autopsy.
On December 9, a debt-ridden farmer, Dasharathi Barik (35), had committed suicide by hanging from a tree at Sirigida village in Bargarh’s Sohela police station area.
Following is a report from the Sambad:
The spectre of drought has haunted the Balangir district this year, as the monsoon rain has turned truant, with the district hardly recording any significant rainfall both in the month of June and till mid-July.
The Kharif paddy cultivation of the district is totally dependent on the monsoon rainfall but it has been severely hit due to scant rainfall till date. There was shortage of paddy seeds and fertiliser this year but farmers had taken up the paddy cultivation with high hope of good rainfall. However, contrary to their expectations, the inadequate rainfall has withheld the agriculture operations.
According to official sources, against the normal average rainfall of 202.8 mm in June, the district received a rainfall of 105.5 mm, a 48 per cent deficit rainfall. Rather than any improvement, the situation continues to be depressing and till July 12 last, the district has received a rainfall of 64.5 mm against the normal rainfall average of 360 mm.
Against the target of paddy cultivation in 1,87,000 hectares of land, the cultivation has been taken up in 75,404 hectares only, barely on 40 per cent of land, said official sources. The irregularity of rain has further brought agriculture operations, now at various stages, to a grinding halt.
“We have noticed moisture stress condition in the soil and unless there is rain within five to seven days, the moisture stress condition would spread to the plant resulting in yellowing and browning and eventual death/wilting of the plant,” said an agriculture official. However, there are reports of paddy plant getting brownish due to shortage of water. We desperately need rain within a week to carry forward the agriculture operations, he maintained. Ironically, most of the Mudas and Katas and other sources of water are in dry condition. Hence, the farmers have no option left except rain.
Even if now rain occurs, the whole agriculture operations would be over by the end of August and it would affect the yield. Barely a few days are left for the Hindu calendar month Shravan to end but still the roads and fields are dry. By July 15, agriculture operations should be going on full swing but this year the situation is different, rued a farmer.
The first ever visit of State Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy to Balangir began with interaction with farmers and a promise to open a Balangir Haat (market) at Bhubaneswar to prevent the distress sale of vegetables, tomato, and mango within a month, besides directing the official to visit the field and attending the grievance of farmers.
Accompanied by Principal Secretary RL Jamuda, Director Agriculture RS Gopalan and Director of Horticulture and Watershed, Maharathi listened to the farmers’ complaints. The majority of complains of farmers were related to distress sale of paddy, tomato, vegetables, hike in subsidy for digging well, shortage of paddy seed and revival of cold storage.
“No new paddy seed is arriving here. Farmers have to wait for hours to get a bag of paddy in Puintala block. With a bag of paddy what will he do?,” asked ex- MLA Muralidhar Guru to the delegation.
Besides the official sale centre, the sale centre opened under the Chief Minister’s package is yet to function. Those who have opened sale centres are yet to get their commission of last year, alleged a few farmers.
Reacting to complaints of distress sale of tomato, onion and other vegetables, Maharathi announced that a Balangir Haat would be opened at Unit –1 in Bhubneshwar within a month where farmers would sell their produce directly and get benefit. He also assured that adequate amount of seed would be sent to the district by June 15.
Reacting a to a complaint that farmers in Puintal block have not received their compensation amount, Maharathy directed the District Collector to disburse it within three days so that farmer could procure seeds and other items.
A new dress code is also in the offing for the village agriculture workers and it would be implemented within a year, informed Maharathi and directed the VAWs and other officials to treat the farmers with dignity and listen to their grievances with patience. A direct communication line would be opened between the farmers and the Ministry, he informed further.
In 1996 during the severe drought, the district administration decided to construct a tank by the side of each tube well so that a person taking water from tube well would pour some water in it and the cattle and other animals would drink water from there. However, the scheme failed with structures either damaged or non-existent, Minister was told.
The farmers said that the Government has decided to provide 90 per cent subsidy if four farmers in a cluster dig deep bore well but a deep bore well is making a tube well dry. So they suggested to the Minister to rethink over it.
To provide solution to the problem of harassment by banks in opening of account, Director Agriculture RS Gopalan directed the District Collector to take necessary steps to open zero balance account in the bank and action against them not cooperating. Gopalan also assured that the defunct seed processing unit in the district would be made functional in a month. A total of 35 farmers were honoured with shawl and citation on the occasion.
Bhubaneswar: In a small village in Orissa’s Sambalpur district, in a small house, a family looks to its neighbours for support. 61-year-old Shukla Chand killed himself by drinking pesticide. In this part of Western Orissa, this has become a frighteningly familiar story. Since November, 11 farmers from here have killed themselves.
Farmers have been catapulted from one crisis to another in Orissa since 2009. Floods, drought, and then exceptionally heavy rainfall last year before the harvest. The deaths of 100 farmers have officially been registered as suicides. The state government says it wasn’t their failed crops that drove them to their death.
For farmers whose crops were wiped out by pre-harvest rains, the Centre has sanctioned Rs. 400 crore for Andhra Pradesh and another Rs. 600 crore for Maharashtra. No compensation for Orissa has been announced so far.
The state government, led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of the Biju Janata Dal, has offered to pay farmers Rs. 400 per acre for rain-fed areas and Rs. 800 per acre for irrigated land – only if the farmers can prove he has lost his entire crop. But farmers point out they invest at least Rs. 9,000 per acre for their paddy crop. So the compensation being offered is worthless.
For farmers like Shukla Chand, it seems like there’s no one on their side. His suicide note says after his last crop of paddy failed just before the harvest, the loans he owed seemed insurmountable. He had cultivated eight acres of paddy with an initial investment of Rs. 80,000. He then took a bank loan of five lakh to buy a tractor, and another three lakh from private money lenders. When heavy rains destroyed his standing crop in November last year, he could no longer cope.
“The Centre and state are playing a cruel joke on our farmers. The policy to compensate for losses due to calamities has not kicked in. There are thousands of farmers like Shukla Chand who are not dead as yet, but on the verge of death,” says Saroj, the leader of a local cooperative of farmers.