Four months after his wife committed suicide over crop failure, a farmer in drought-affected Bolangir district on Wednesday consumed pesticide after a local block development officer reportedly abused him over unkept promises.
Duryodhan Bag of Dhusamunda village in Tureikela block chose to end his life after being at the receiving end of similar administrative apathy.
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Barely a fortnight after a farmer, Nandighosh Barik of Harbhanga village under Agalpur block in this district, committed suicide because of alleged disparaging words used by the local sub-collector, another peasant of Dhusamunda village in Turekela block chose to end his life after being at the receiving end of similar administrative apathy.
Duryodhan Bag of Dhusamunda village in Tureikela block in Bolangir drank pesticide on Tuesday evening a few hours after he met the local BDO over the latter’s unkept promise of sanctioning a house under Indira Awas Yojana over the death of his wife Ujuli Bag. Ujuli had committed suicide in November last year after the cotton crop on five acres and paddy on two acres of land withered due to lack of rain.
Bag’s family members alleged that following the promise from Tureikela BDO, he was making rounds of the BDO office to get government assistance, but got contempt. On Tuesday too, the BDO scorned Bag over his appeals to get a IAY house.
Soon after he consumed pesticide, he was admitted to a government hospital in neighbouring Kantabanji block, but he died soon after. Bolangir district collector M Muthukumar said any action will be taken after an inquiry.
The farmer couple had borrowed a huge amount from private money lenders and were under severe mental stress after standing crops were damaged.
In March this year, Nadighosh Barik, a 50-year-old farmer of Bolangir had hanged himself to death after he was reportedly abused by the sub-collector. Barik of Harabhanga village under Agalpur block of the district had gone to meet the district collector seeking compensation over the failure of the moong crop that was damaged following a hailstorm. Nandighosh was also saddled with a loan of Rs 10000 which he could not repay.
The issue had rocked the Odisha Assembly recently after the Congress and BJP members demanded summons to be issued against the officer.
The Naveen Patnaik government last month told the State Assembly that 174 farmers had committed suicide in the state since the onset of 2015 Kharif season. The government, however refused to admit that any of the suicides were due to crop loss even as it sought drought relief of Rs 2344 crore from Centre. In its memorandum to the Centre, the State government said 235 blocks of 28 districts were affected by the
drought in 2015.
The government said it is not in favour of giving compensation to families of farmers in the state who committed suicide because the move may encourage others to end their lives.