BJP plans stir against Minister’s remarks
December 3, 2019
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday announced to launch a State-wide agitation taking strong exception to the statement of Odisha Agriculture Minister Pradip Maharathy, who said a farmer had committed suicide in Bargarh district due to family issues, not crop failure.The BJP’s farmers wing would burn effigies of Mr. Maharathy at all sub-divisional headquarters on Tuesday.“The Odisha government is responsible for the farmer’s suicide. Farmers in Bargarh had given advance for 8267 bore-wells while the capacity of the Odisha Lift Irrigation Corporation for installing bore-wells is only 300 per year,” alleged Shivaji Mohanty, BJP farmers’ wing president.Functional bore-wellsMr. Mohanty said most of the installed bore-wells were yet to be charged while performance of functional bore-wells had dipped due to low voltage and frequent power outage.Hadu Bagarti, 55, had committed suicide by consuming pesticide in Kendpali village in Bargarh district on February 26. Making a statement in the Assembly on the issue on Saturday, Mr. Maharathy had said, “as per report received from the Bargarh District Collector, the farmer had committed suicide not due to crop failure or loan burden. Squabble with his wife could have been the reason.”Bagarti’s family members told reporters that no government official visited their house to inquire about suicide. “It sounds strange as to how the government arrived at any conclusion when nobody talked to us for recording our statement,” they alleged.The Minister’s statement had also not gone down well with farmer leaders. “There was nothing new in the statement. When the government did not find crop failure to be the reason in none of over 100 farmer suicides reported in 2015-16, it is futile to expect it making a factual statement this time,” said Lingaraj, prominent farmer leader.Number of suicidesHighest number of farmer suicides was reported from Bargarh district in 2015. Subsequently, PM Narendra Modi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had visited the district announcing to take steps for farm sector development.