Two more Odisha farmers commit suicide, toll in 48 hours reaches nine

Bhubaneswar, Oct 27 (IANS) Two farmers who consumed poison due to crop losses died on Tuesday in Bolangir district of Odisha, taking the death toll in such cases in the last 48 hours in the state to nine.

Krutibash Gahir of Ramudu village allegedly consumed poison after the loss of his paddy and cotton crops.

Pari Nag of Batharala village also died under similar circumstances. Nag consumed poison on October 25 and was admitted in Mission Hospital in Khariar town.

Both the farmers had raised loans for sowing crops but a weak monsoon damaged their crops, a source said.

On Monday, seven farmers allegedly committed suicide in Dhenkanal, Bargarh, Ganjam, Keonjhar and Bhadrak districts.

Local Met sources said the state received 14 per cent deficit rainfall this monsoon, resulting in a drought-like situation and crop loss of above 33 percent in over 5.23 lakh hectares of cultivated land.

Odisha usually receives 1,144.3 mm rainfall during the monsoon from June to September, but it received only 1,031 mm rain this year.

Meanwhile, in the wake of farmers’ suicides, the opposition accused the Navin Patnaik government of failure to take steps to mitigate the drought situation.

Leader of opposition and senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra dubbed suicides by farmers as “an epidemic gone beyond the control of the state administration”.

He said the state government was still in a deep slumber and yet to recover from its festive hangover.

The Paschim Odisha Krushak Sangathan Samanvaya Samiti, a forum fighting for the cause of farmers in western Odisha, threatened to launch an agitation over the deaths of farmers and the state government’s alleged failure in tackling the drought situation.

Samiti convenor Ashok Pradhan said farmers would stage demonstrations in front of the collectorates in 11 districts on November 9.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy said the state government was examining the alleged suicides of farmers.

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