Alleging that farmers are a most neglected lot in Ganjam, the home district of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) has demanded steps to stop suicide by farmers which has become a regular feature during BJD rule since 2000.
A delegation of Congress leaders, led by former minister and OPCC general secretary Ganeswar Behera, on Saturday submitted a memorandum to Governor Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare to draw his attention to the suicide committed by farmer Trinath Padhan of Erenda village in Chikiti block of the district on February 23.
The Congress leaders alleged that though the Chief Minister hails from the district, he has not taken note of the situation seriously. Women and Child Development Minister Usha Devi, who represents the Assembly constituency, has also not visited the village so far, they said.
The Congress delegation, which included former Speaker Chintamani Dyansamantaray and OPCC vice-president Sibananda Ray, alleged that 50-year-old Trinath, belonging to Scheduled Caste community, was forced to take poison to end his life due to the mounting mental agonies caused by debt burden.
The memorandum claimed that apart from Rs 10,000 which Trinath had borrowed from local cooperative, there was an outstanding private loan of Rs 50,000 against him. He was the only earning member of the family comprising five members, including his 75-year-old mother and a disabled sister. He was admitted to the MKGC Medical, Berhampur where he died the same day.
The Congress delegates urged the Governor to prevail upon the State Government to pay compensation of Rs 5 lakh to Trinath’s wife and a job to his son. Besides, they demanded old age pension and disabled pension for his mother and sister respectively.
The Congress leaders also demanded that an additional Rs 300 per quintal of paddy should be paid to the farmers and the crop loss estimate reassessed to cover many left out farmers under the crop insurance scheme. Besides, urgent initiatives should be taken for interlinking of Rushikulya and Bansadhara rivers to ensure irrigation facilities in Ganjam district, they said.