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Another farmer suicide in Odisha and no one knows why

The local administration was lightning quick to make an on-field assessment of the farm field where Kailash grew the crop in his village Uluma in Patrapur block of Ganjam.

Published: 07th December 2021 10:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th December 2021 10:56 AM   |  A+A-

The paddy crop cultivated by Kailash damaged in rain

The paddy crop cultivated by Kailash damaged in rain (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

BERHAMPUR: Kailash Sabar’s alleged suicide is everybody’s business. Yet no one knows why the part-time farmer and full-time migrant worker consumed pesticide on Saturday. Opposition political parties blame the government for his death saying the 57-year-old ended his life since he would not have been able to repay loans for the paddy crop he raised. It was damaged in the unseasonal and Jawad-induced rains in the last two days. 

The local administration was lightning quick to make an on-field assessment of the farm field where Kailash grew the crop in his village Uluma in Patrapur block of Ganjam. So swift was the administration that it even clicked pictures of the field on Sunday night and posted on Twitter to clarify that the crop was intact and his death was attributed to personal reasons.

It turned out on Monday that the pictures posted were apparently of another paddy field, not the 2-acre land Kailash tilled as a sharecropper. The land is owned by fellow villager T Nageswar Patra. A spot visit on the day revealed that a substantial portion of the crop Kailash raised was damaged by rain, wind and cast by mud. He had apparently suffered a similar fate last month too when unseasonal rains came calling.

Initially, it was alleged that since the crop was inundated, it left him worried over the loss.  His wife Padma says, she and Kailash had a fight - which was a regular thing - before he left home. He returned and went to bed but vomited soon after. When asked, he said he had consumed pesticide. “Immediately, we took him to Patrapur hospital but he did not survive,” said the neighbours.

After news of the death gathered speed, local tehsildar Amit Kumar Nayak reached the hospital and handed over an ex gratia of Rs 10,000 from the Red Cross fund. Since the death was attributed to crop loss, the administration visited the field of Kailash in the evening and claimed that the crop was intact. On the day, the local BJP leaders visited the village and blamed the government for the death. 

However, neither family members of the deceased nor any fellow villagers agree that Kailash had incurred a loan except one for buying fertiliser worth around Rs 4,000 on credit. Some say, he had a drinking habit and often quarreled with his wife. On Sunday though, Kailash didn’t have a drink. Why did the 57-year-old end his life? Was it crop-loss, debt or family dispute? The answer probably went with him to his grave.



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