BHAWANIPATNA: The scourge of farmers’ suicide reared its ugly head again in the State as a farmer resorted to the extreme step in Kalahandi district on Saturday. If crop failure due to various natural factors led to a spurt in a number of such cases last year, loan burden was the cause in the latest tragic incident.
The farmer, Bahadur Rana belonging to Madiguda village under Bhawanipatna block of Kalahandi district, had cultivated his 4.3 acres of land to grow paddy, cotton and vegetables. He had taken loans from Borda branch of Bank of India, microfinance sources besides private lenders in this regard.
According to his family sources, though the crops were in sapling stage and deweeding work was going on in the farm fields, the 53-year-old farmer was under pressure from the loan sharks. Besides farming, he had also taken loans for other purposes on different occasions. He was in his farm field supervising the deweeding works on Saturday. Later in the day, he was found in a serious condition there and taken by his family members to Titlagarh Hospital in Balangir district where he died on Sunday morning. As Bahadur was under mental pressure, he consumed poison to commit suicide, said his 20-year-old daughter Pinki Rana and 18-year-old son Makaranda.
Kalahandi Collector Anjan Kumar Manik said as it is a sensitive case, a team consisting of Agriculture and Revenue officials have been deputed to the village to ascertain the cause of the farmer’s death. Meanwhile, the team has submitted its report to the Collector after making a survey of the agriculture field of Bahadur. Manik said the family of the deceased was given 35 kg of rice per month under Antodaya Anna Yojana.
According to sources, this is the first case of farmer’s suicide in the western Odisha district this year. Last year, a farmer of Bargarh district had taken the extreme step by consuming pesticides after torching his pest-infested paddy field, setting off a spate of suicides in the region. Drought condition, pest attack and unseasonal rains led to crop loss in 8.5 lakh hectare across 29 districts during the year.