Bhubaneswar: Odisha agriculture minister Dr Damodar Rout on Saturday cleared that the farmers who have suffered more than 33 per cent crop loss due to pest or any natural calamity will get compensation but those who have burnt their crops won’t be considered. “How can we give them the compensation? If there is no crop in the fields, how can the officials estimate the loss?” said Dr Rout. On the alleged suicide of Bargarh district farmer Brunda Sahoo, the minister said an investigation was required to know the reason behind his death. Questions like—does the land belong to him or was he a share cropper was raised by Dr Rout. “Besides, we have to check whether he has taken a loan from a bank or not,” he added. No farmer faces financial issues, especially during this period. They may be in distress, but that doesn’t mean they are denied food, said the minister.
He stated that the government was not responsible if farmers take a loan from private lenders, “as it is giving loans to them without any mortgage and even not recovering the amount.” “Odisha farmers will never commit suicide as they are well aware that their family will suffer after their death. An investigation is needed to know the truth behind the burning of crops and suicides,” he said. The minister informed that the government would soon start disbursing Rabi loans to farmers.
On the other hand, the Sambalpur district collector Samarth Verma said at least 28,200 hectares of agricultural land had been affected by pests. The incidents of burning of crop fields continue in the state. A farmer of Sankujendri village under Ramanaguda block in Gunupur, Rayagada, set afire his pest-affected crops. Similarly, a farmer of Bandigaon in Dharmagad block in Kalahandi district torched his pest-affected crops in four acres of agricultural field. Reports from chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s home district Ganjam said a farmer of Sankhemundi village Alaya Jena, who consumed pesticide due to alleged crop loss on Friday, died on Saturday. As many as five farmers have ended their lives in the past nine days.