Posts filed under ‘Farmer Suicide’

Sambalpur, Cuttack, Berhampur and Rourkela to have terminal market yards for farmers

Following is a report from

BHUBANESWAR: Orissa government will provide four terminal market yards to enable the farmers to sell their produce at market prices. The move comesin the wake of mounting criticism from the opposition Congress and BJP over increasing number of farmer suicide cases.
One of the terminal has already been constructed at Sambalpur with an investment of Rs 86 crore and three others are coming up at Cuttack, Berhampur and Rourkela, Orissa agriculture minister Dr Damodar Rout said here on Tuesday soon after addressing at a seminar on sustainable sugarcane initiative.

Dr Rout informed that although Orissa is the fourth largest vegetable producer, its farmers were not getting adequate returns on the investment because of high input costs and unscientific farming.

“We have been asking the farmers to use technology and modern method of farming to save costs. It will take some time for the farmers to adopt the new methods like drip irrigation and use scientifically developed agriculture tools and equipment,” Dr Rout observed.

The minister stated that the government had decided to as many as cold storages possible in the state through private entrepreneurs. “We are going to conduct a feasibility study of the existing cold storages which are lying vacant for all these years. Besides, individuals and cooperatives will be encouraged to build new cold storages. They will avail the Central government’s recently announced 40% subsidy and another 15% by the state administration,” Dr Rout said.

To a query as to why the state government had not yet come out with a specific sugarcane policy as announced by him a few months ago, the minister said a comprehensive policy was being drafted by the agriculture department to encourage crops like sugarcane, maize and horticulture produces.


April 16, 2010 at 7:53 pm Leave a comment

Farmer suicide on the rise in Orissa: NDTV’s report from Sambalpur

Following is a report from

Surendra Dhurua had tried to commit suicide five months ago. He lost all his paddy crop on four acres of land to poor monsoon and a pest attack. There was no way he could repay the Rs 13,000 farm loan.

The pesticide would have killed Surendra, except his family reached him to the hospital in time.
“First the rains ditched us. Then the pests finished everything. The loans drove me mad. I wondered what would happen if people demanded repayment? I thought it was better to die,” said Surendra Dhurua, a farmer from Kusumdiha Village, Sambalpur.

Surendra survived an unfortunate season of farm suicides. Forty-three farmers killed themselves towards the end of 2009. Nearly half of them were from Western Orissa, where Sambalpur is.

What’s common to the tragedies:

  • All of them were small farmers
  • Entirely dependent on monsoons for irrigation
  • Sudden Inflation had limited their access to expensive fertilisers and pesticides
  • Most crucial, all of them had borrowed from moneylenders between Rs 10,000 to 25,000 at exorbitant rates, some as high as 25 per cent.

Sambalpur became the epicenter of the crisis where 600 villages lost most of their crop and 5 farmers committed suicide.

”Now that the uncertainties of monsoon has increased, this kind of pest attack has increased and they have also increased their investment by 7 to 8 times. So their entire system has failed them,” said Ranjan Panda, a green activist from Sambalpur.

Orissa has never seen farm suicides at this scale. Forty-three suicides are unprecedented. It is a distressing trend for a state where 80% farmers are small and marginal. 

March 16, 2010 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

Farmers are committing suicide in western Orissa as Hirakud dam is failing:Study

Following is a report by IANS published in The Hindu:

Dozens of farmers have committed suicide in Orissa in the past one year as the Hirakud dam is no longer serving its purpose, says a new study that warns of a grimmer situation in the coming days if urgent steps are not taken.

The dam, built across the Mahanadi river, about 350 km from Bhubaneswar in the district of Sambalpur, is one of the longest in the world. It is one of independent India’s early multipurpose river valley projects.

In the initial phase, it checked floods in the state’s coastal areas, provided electricity to factories and homes and supplied ample water in the canals to grow a second crop every year.

“However, now these functions have been considerably reduced,” said Rajkishor Meher, a reader in sociology at the government-run Nabakrushna Choudhury Centre for Development Studies in Bhubaneswar.

Government records show 3,509 farmers committed suicide in Orissa in the last 11 years. The opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party have alleged that at least 53 farmers committed suicide in the state in the past one year.

A years-long study by Meher on the plight of farmers at the tail ends of canals served by the dam is awaiting publication in the journal Contributions to Indian Sociology.

“The dam has almost lost its principal objective of irrigation promotion and agricultural development in the region,” Meher said.

“The system now hardly generates 30 percent of its installed hydro power capacity because of lack of adequate storage of water in the reservoir, obsolete technology and worn out machinery,” said the expert, who has authored several books related to sociology of development and on Orissa’s economy.

“Although floods in the Mahanadi was under control for some years, because of the silting of the riverbed by sand downstream of the dam, floods in the coastal region of the state have started recurring in a more aggravating form since 1980,” he said.

According to Meher, the dam project had displaced 101,000 people 50 years ago, a majority of them tribals.

“Given the rate of population growth and limited success of the past resettlement and rehabilitation process, it is not unfair to say that around 200,000 people of the original Hirakud oustees might still be impoverished by the project,” he said.

The reservoir submerged around 50,000 hectares of good farm land in 300 villages. As against that, it irrigated 157,790 hectares during the Kharif and 97,910 hectares during the Rabi seasons, according to official records.

“But at present due to silting of the reservoir and canals the tail end areas do not get adequate irrigation water for the second crop. The area deprived of a second crop is almost one-third of the created irrigated potential in the command area,” Meher said.

“So, the effective irrigation coverage for the second paddy crop is now available for hardly 60,000-70,000 hectares of agricultural land and that is at the cost of loss of 50,000 hectares of agricultural land and disruption of livelihood of around 40,000 displaced families at present.

“Plus, availability of water for agriculture shall be reduced in future, as the area surrounding the reservoir is now witnessing fast industrial growth and mining of coal.”

Meher said factories were taking more and more water from the Hirakud reservoir. “Before 1997 the total allocation of water to the industries of the region from the reservoir was 3,191,200 gallons per year. This has increased by 27 times in the past nine years and this is obviously at the cost of water for irrigation.

“In this scenario, the farmers in the tail end are going to suffer more and more.”

Meher wanted “immediate improvement” in the water management in the project’s command area. “If that is not done many small and marginal farmers who regularly borrow money for farming from various sources at high rates of interest may commit suicide.”

February 26, 2010 at 6:56 pm Leave a comment

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

Following is a report from

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.

January 17, 2010 at 12:58 pm 1 comment

Central team admits drought in Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Sundargarh and Angul region of Orissa

Following is a report from The Pioneer:

The Central team on Thursday admitted that the State was severely affected by drought. After visiting the drought-affected areas, the 12-member Central team called on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and discussed the issue with other senior officials here on Thursday. The State officials headed by Chief Secretary TK Mishra held a detailed discussion.

“The State has already given its own assessment and certainly we will look into the State demand,” said Atanu Purukayast, Joint Secretary of Union Agriculture Ministry.

The team visited a number of drought-affected areas of Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Sundargarh and Angul. They have also discussed the issue with senior officials. Moreover, the State has already placed a demand of Central funds to expedite drought relief work.

“The State in a memorandum given to the Centre on December 19 demanded Rs 2,257 crore to carry out drought relief measures,” said Special Relief Commissioner NK Sunderray.

He further said that in two phases, the State had already received Rs 172 crore. “We have requested to send another team to assess the damage caused by the floods that had come on the Mahanadi river system,” he said.

January 8, 2010 at 5:33 pm Leave a comment

Central team visits drought-hit areas of Kalahandi district, Orissa

Following is a report by PTI:

Bhawanipatna (Orissa), Jan 7 (PTI) A four-member central team today visited drought-affected areas in Orissa’s backward Kalahandi district to assess the situation.

The team conducted field surveys in Bhatipada, Kodobhata, Kuliapali, Mahaling, Makraguda and Bordi villages under Kuhura and Mahaling gram panchayats of Golamunda block and interacted with farmers about their problems.

In Bhatipada, villagers alleged distress condition due to heavy crop loss and reported that under the prevailing situation more than 70 per cent of the population have already migrated, while at Mahaling the villagers displayed the damaged dry crop.

In Kodobhata village the team visited the damaged paddy fields. In most parts farmers could not harvest paddy and the dry plants bore testimony the plight of the farmers.

As the land lacked moisture, Rabi crop harvesting could not be taken up and the entire region had a barren look.

January 7, 2010 at 6:47 pm Leave a comment

Meet on drought held in Bargarh, Orissa

Following is a report from The Pioneer:

A meeting on how to meet the drought situation was held under the chairmanship of Collector Suresh Prasad Padhi here. More than 1,706 farmers from 28 villages of Paikmal and Jharband in Bargarh district have been affected by drought. The meeting was convened to provide Government relief to the affected farmers.

The State Government has sanctioned Rs 17 lakh to the drought-affected villages. Padhi directed the district departmental heads to submit plans and projects of the affected villages in the district. Present at the meeting included MLA Bargarh Sadhu Charan Nepak, MLA Attabira Nihar Ranjan Mohanand.

January 5, 2010 at 7:15 pm Leave a comment

Farmer suicide in Sambalpur, Odisha on the last day of 2009

Following is a report from The Sambad:

January 1, 2010 at 5:17 pm Leave a comment

Another farmer suicide in Sundergarh

Read the complete report from The Dharitri here.

December 30, 2009 at 6:17 pm Leave a comment

Farmer suicides are not due to crop loss:Minister for Agriculture,Orissa

Following is a report from The Samaja:

December 29, 2009 at 6:05 pm Leave a comment

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