Updated: August 7, 2021 11:52:13 pm
An Odisha farmer has died two days after consuming pesticide following the failure of his paddy crop and its sale for a low price.
Kaibalya Rohidas, 45, from the western district of Sambalpur, was facing economic and mental stress, said his son, Dasarath.
Unable to get the minimum selling price, the farmer was forced to sell the produce at a minimal cost, incurring a loss of Rs 1.5 lakh, Dasarath added.
“The Rabi season had not been very fruitful for us. Due to erratic rain, the produce was very low. The total harvest was only around 200 kg. My father could only sell 45 kg of the total produce as allotted under the token system. The remaining harvest was sold off at a very minimal price,” he added. “On top of a bad season, he also had loans of over Rs 70,000 to repay.”
Rohidas died Friday during treatment.
The police have lodged a case of accidental death. Authorities have also initiated a district-level inquiry. Dhankauda’s block development officer Basant Hati said, “We are inquiring into the matter. The information regarding paddy procurement and distress sale is also being looked into.”
Earlier this month, following allegations of mismanagement in paddy procurement during the rabi season, Chief Secretary Suresh Mahapatra had asked all collectors to ensure that no farmer faced issues in selling their produce to the government during the kharif season.
The opposition has repeatedly flagged the alleged mismanagement in paddy procurement in the state. While the BJP had criticised the state government’s token system for procuring paddy, the Congress had demanded a Lokayukta investigation into irregularities.
A parliamentary delegation of the ruling Biju Janata Dal from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha had also met Food Minister Piyush Goyal earlier this month, drawing his attention to the issues affecting paddy procurement operations in Odisha. The BJD has time and again flagged the state’s inability to buy the surplus paddy which, it says, should be bought by the Food Corporation of India.
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