A farmer on Sunday committed suicide in Balasore district allegedly due to crop loss caused by unseasonal rains, a state official said. The suicide is the 10th such case reported since October in Odisha. The state government has promised early compensation to the farmers who have suffered crop failure.
Jitendra Biswal of Bhanupur village under Baliapal police station allegedly committed suicide by consuming pesticide. He was a middle-aged farmer engaged in share cropping on about three acres of land. His family claimed that he was forced to take the extreme step due to crop loss following unseasonal rains.
Balasore District Collector Pramod Das said the exact reason behind the step would be ascertained only after a thorough inquiry and the tehsildar and revenue officials were asked to inquire into the incident, he said. The incident comes a day after another farmer committed suicide at Baulajholi village under Kukudakhnadi block in Ganjam district allegedly due to crop failure from pest attack and unseasonal rain.
The spate of farmer suicides has triggered an outrage in the state. Cornered by the opposition BJP and the Congress, the state government stepped up the process of assessment of damage caused to the standing crops after unseasonal rains. Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout said the affected farmers would be provided quick compensation as steps were taken to complete the assessment of crop loss in a week.
Officials were undertaking field inspection in the rain-hit areas to gauge the extent of damage caused to the standing crops, Rout said, adding, all the district collectors have been asked to send reports of crop loss within seven days.
Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi has written a letter to all district collectors to send report of crop loss to the state government by November 25, a senior official said. Officials are currently visiting different areas to take stock of the crop situation, he said adding, they have been asked to strictly adhere to the directions of the state government for assessment of crop damage, if any, due to rain.
Paddy cultivation in a number of districts in the coastal region was severely affected due to the rain. The BJD government in the state had come under attack from BJP and Congress, with the opposition political parties accusing it of having failed to act in time to mitigate the plight of farmers.
Senior BJP leaders held a meeting here today and expressed concern over the “miserable” condition of the farming community said the party would chalk out a plan of action in order to help the farmers.