Getting habituated to a habit...
There is a competition to live a life that takes you farther from your roots. Our roots are inevitably ecological. Having gained the wonderful experience of knowing ecology from close corners over the last two decades, I behave like an objective chronicler of it. This blog is meant to be a contemporary chronology of ecology, economics and we the being. The blog will have text and visuals. Ranjan Panda
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Odisha Farmer Suicide Update - 8th March 2017
Odisha government must learn an urgent lesson from villagers' anger in Kendpali village!
Yesterday, when two govt. officials went to re-investigate the cause of death of Khaenu Bagarthy (who took his life owing to farm distress), they were detained by the villagers for hours and then were asked to write the report in front of them only so that they don't change their report after returning from the village. The officials admitted that Khaenu Bagarty died of farm distress and debt burden.
Earlier, the Bargarh district administration's fake report was exposed as the family members of the victim and villagers challenged the report that was supposedly sent by the District Collector to the Agriculture Minister, based on which the Minister had informed the assembly that the farmer died of family quarrels and not farm distress. Thankfully the opposition united on this issue and cornered the govt. and the lie was exposed.
The govt. of Odisha has the habit of covering up each farmer suicide case and its officials have been submitting false investigation reports each year. By doing this, the govt. has now forced people to take actions such as the one that happened yesterday in Kendpali village.
The government should immediately realise its mistake and correct course without further delay. To restore people's faith in the government in such cases, it must immediately re-investigate all farmer suicide cases (at least for last three years), admit that farm distress is the sole reason for farmers ending their lives, and compensate the bereaved families adequately.
Such re-investigations must be done by an independent expert committee and not just by govt. officials as has been the practice. Ironically, the same officials who are guilty of neglecting farmers' plight do the investigation as a routine affair. This practice needs to change immediately. Or else, the farmers's angers will pile up further and there is every possibility of BJD feeling the heat in next Assembly elections. Its poor performance in just concluded local self govt. elections is just a beginning.
As such also, Odisha needs to take up many innovative initiatives to revive its farm sectors and raise income and living standard of its ailing farmers who are in dire distress now. For this also, the govt. must consult experts and practitioners from all the sectors, not just the ones who have the habit of praising the govt.