In an unfortunate sequel of farmer distress and subsequent suicides, Bargarh district which is known as rice bowl of Odisha, has witnessed yet another farmer suicide on Wednesday morning at Kalapani in the district and that too in front of live television camera.
According to the local people of Kalapani, the deceased farmer Brunda Sahu had torched his pest-affected crops on Tuesday to prevent further attack from insects.
On Wednesday morning, as one of the regional news channels reached the village with live OB van for the follow up coverage of the torching of the maize crops. But shockingly, the farmer had fallen down near live camera team of a regional television channel.
The OB van, which was there for the live broadcast immediately brought the farmer to Bargarh hospital without waiting for the ambulance. But he succumbed to his injuries on the way.
According to the other farmers, pesticides supplied by the government were of substandard quality resulting in the large-scale damage of Sahu’s crops.
Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout has directed his departmental secretary to conduct a field inquiry. While, after the on-the-spot field inquiry, Bargarh Tahsildar incharge has given an immediate compensation of rupees 10 thousand from Red Cross and another Rs 2000 under Harishandra Yojna for his funeral.
Sahu is the third farmer suicide victim in a span of last seven days Bargarh district. The state government has often been in denial of farmers’ suicides due to loan and distress. It will be interesting to see if the government of Naveen Patnaik finally acknowledges Sahu’s death as an incident of farmer’s suicide.