BHUBANESWAR: Even as the Odisha Government is brazen in its denial that indebtedness and crop loss are causes behind farmer suicides, a fact-finding team of civil society organisations has found the facts to the contrary.
The team, comprising 23 members, fanned out to 10 districts and met families of farmers who had ended their lives. Of 26 cases of suicide they analysed, the team found 21 to be directly connected with loan burden caused by crop loss.
The activists held a public hearing here on Sunday where they presented family members of the deceased farmers. According to Dhansingh Dharua of Balangir’s Dandrabahal village, his father Bhakta committed suicide when he received a bank notice for loan repayment. Bhakta, he said, had suffered serious crop loss. The Government must accept that loan burden and crop failure have led to suicides, a member of the team Pradip Pradhan said.
Farmer leader Lingaraj said farm sector in Odisha is going through a critical phase and this year’s drought triggered the spate of suicides.
The public hearing recommended to Government to adopt a holistic strategy to deal with the agrarian crisis. Public sector bank and approved financial institutions must be encouraged to increase lending while private money lenders must be brought to book, it said.