Farmers committing suicide due to crop failure in western Orissa, Govt refuses

January 17, 2010 at 12:58 pm 1 comment

Following is a report from economictimes.indiatimes.com:

KABARAPALLI(ORISSA): Very few will buy Orissa government frequently denying farmers in the state committing suicide due to debt and crop loss if one visits Kabarapalli village under Jujumura block, nearly 25 km from here.

Gangadhar Mirdha, a 50-year-old farmer who owned three acres of irrigated land, committed suicide on December 31 as he suffered crop loss due to lack of water and pest attack. His naïve and shocked son Kshamanidh Mirdha made it clear that his father was under stress for quite some time as he saw no return of his investment on the paddy crop this year.

“Before taking the extreme step, my father – while dining with family members – used to ask us; – ‘How can we survive this year as there is no crop in the field? How can we repay the debts?”

Gangadhar had borrowed Rs 15,000 from Punjab National Bank for buying a pump-set and Rs 25,000 from the local Ghenupali Cooperative Society. Although he was not served any notice by the bank or the cooperative society to repay the loan, he was worried that he would earn a bad name and his image would be tarnished for defaulting payment of the loans.

“In our locality, people value self-esteem. They feel burdened if they have a debt burden as less as Rs 1000. Perhaps, Gangadhar apprehended he would be served debt recovery notice for which he took such a drastic step,” local market yard president Dilip Kumar Bhadei said.

Lalit Kumar Bhoi, secretary of the market yard, said although he got 140 bags of paddy last year, he harvested only 65 bags this season because of crop loss due to pest attack and scanty rainfall.

“My investment in paddy crop went in vain this year. Although farmers like me feel totally disappointed and shattered, we console ourselves since we know how to fight with life. But farmers like Gangadhar need bailout packages by the state government to sustain themselves,” Mr Bhoi said.

He added that despite the local farmers being given Silver Card and Gold Card as a mark of identities, they have not yet received crop loss compensation or insurance benefits as announced by the state government.

Sambalpur district collector, Mr Hemant Kumar Das, however, refuses to acknowledge Gangadhar’s suicide as fallout of crop loss and subsequent depression.

“Investigation by the district administration revealed that Gangadhar – under the influence of liquor – had a quarrel with his wife the previous night. That was the reasons for his death by consuming pesticide,” Mr Das said.

Gangadhar’s wife Bijli Mirdha dismisses the collector’s version. “He was very simple. He was also very affectionate and loved each member of the family. The government is trying to malign the image of my husband even after his death,” she says.

Over 40 farmers, most of them from western Orissa, have committed suicide in the last two months because of crop failure due to erratic rainfall and attack by caterpillars. Still worse is the fact that the government refuses to admit even a single farmer suicide denying them the much needed support.

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Entry filed under: Agriculture, Agriculture and Irrigation, Farmer Suicide, Poverty and hunger, Poverty and Hunger in Koshal region, State Watch-Monitoring the Odisha State.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Ranjan Udgata  |  January 17, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    While farmers like Gangadhar Mirdha committing suicide, Naveen Patnaik and Rout babu are sleeping. Kosal is completely affcted by farmer suicide.

    Reply

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