BJP demands magistratrial inquiry into farmers’ death in Odisha

BHUBANESWAR: Holding Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik solely responsible for the death of drought-hit farmers in Odisha, the state unit of BJP on Thursday demanded a magistrate-level probe into the farmers’ suicide cases.

“The state government should write to the Chief Justice of Odisha High Court to spare executive magistrate to probe each and every suicide cases of farmers in the state instead of district collectors,” senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra told reporters here.

Mohapatra’s reaction came in following the report of district collectors that the farmers have committed suicide due to a family dispute, alcoholism and other reasons, but not due to crop loss and loan burden.

Mohapatra said around 60 farmers have already ended their lives due to crop loss after scanty rainfall this monsoon.

“Inquiry into suicide cases by collectors is biassed. Only a judicial inquiry can unearth the truth,” said the BJP leader.

Narrating the plights of farmers, who are facing the wrath of money lenders across the state, the party also demanded waiving of agricultural loan for the benefit of the peasants.

He also demanded that the government announce Rayagada, Kandhamal and Gajpati districts as drought affected.

A fact-finding team of the party had visited the districts to take stock of the situation recently.

“The government is completely apathetic towards the farmer community. While the drought situation is worsening in the state, no officials have visited the ground level to assess the situation,” said Mohapatra.

He also criticised the government for not submitting a detailed report over the drought to the centre to get assistance.