No farmers' suicide was agri-related: Odisha govt

In a written reply to a question in the state assembly, the state agriculture minister Arun Sahu said that the local administrations in the districts had been directed to investigate the suicide cases.

Thirty-eight cases of farmers’ suicide were officially recorded in Odisha during the last three fiscal years. However, not a single of them was due to agriculture-related, if the Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government is to be believed.

In a written reply to a question in the state assembly, the state agriculture minister Arun Sahu said that the local administrations in the districts had been directed to investigate the suicide cases.

The probe reports for 35 suicide cases received by the state government showed that none of them was due to crop loss or loan burden. Investigation reports are awaited in three cases.

Of the 38 cases, 16 were reported in 2016-17 followed by 20 in 2017-18 and two in 2018-19. Bargarh in western Odisha topped the list of districts where farmers’ suicide cases were registered. It recorded eight cases followed by Ganjam in southern Odisha with seven. Coastal Jajpur district recorded four deaths while two other western districts of Sambalpur and Nuapara registered three deaths each.

Other districts which reported farmers’ suicide were Dhenkanal, Balasore, Khurda and Nowranpur with two each and Rayagada, Gajapati, Angul, Budh and Kalahandi one each.

Late last year, the Patnaik administration had informed the assembly that 11 farmers had ended their lives in 2013-14 followed by four in 2014-15 and as many as 175 in 2015-16. The state government had refused to accept that a majority of these suicides were due to agrarian distress.

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