BALASORE: At a time when Central inter-Ministerial teams visited drought affected districts of the State to assess the losses, a debt-ridden farmer couple of Betnoti block in Mayurbhanj district committed suicide by consuming pesticide on Friday.
They have been identified as Bhima Singh (50) and his wife Somabari (45) of Satapautia village under Baisinga police limits.
The couple’s family said Bhima, a share cropper, had borrowed more than `30,000 from his relatives and local moneylenders to cultivate paddy in around eight acres. The couple used to jointly work in the paddy field. But, their hope of a bumper crop was washed away following deficit rainfall and they had to bear heavy loss.
“Bhima was under stress for the past one month and the couple used to fight over repayment of loan. After a scuffle on Thursday night, Somabari consumed pesticide. She was rushed to District Headquarters Hospital (DHH) where she died. On learning about her death, Bhima too consumed poison and was rushed to DHH, where doctors declared him brought dead, said his father Pandu Singh (72).
While Bhima’s two sons Chandramohan and Debendra work in Gujarat as bonded labourers, he took care of a nine-member family including his parents.
Betnoti Tehsildar Kuanr Charan Marandi said, as per a preliminary inquiry, it is learnt that the couple consumed poison one after another following a quarrel over repayment of loan. “Revenue Inspector Sabita Das, supervisor of the panchayat and VLW have been asked to conduct a joint inquiry and submit the report by Monday,” he said admitting that the block is one the drought-hit blocks of the district.
This is the seventh incident due to crop failure in the tribal dominated district which was first declared drought hit. Earlier, five debt-ridden farmers had allegedly committed suicide apprehending that the low yield this year may not be sufficient which can help them repay their loans.