Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Wednesday claimed that no farmer in the state committed suicide due to agriculture-related issues though 18 such allegations were made during 2016-17 and 2017-18.
Odisha Agriculture and Farmer Empowerment Minister Damodar Rout said the state government had received information about 11 farmer suicides in 2016-17 and seven in 2017-18.
"No farmer has committed suicide due to agriculture-related problems as per information received by our department," he said in the Assembly while replying to a written question of Congress member Bhujabal Majhi.
Rout said all 18 cases were jointly probed by the district collector and superintendent of police of the districts concerned. "The state government has taken a number of measures to prevent farmer suicides," the minister said.
The opposition Congress and BJP, however, rejected the state government's claim and termed the minister's statement "unfortunate". They alleged a number of farmers had committed suicide due to crop loss and loan burden in the state. "We demand a judicial inquiry into all farmer suicides. It is unfortunate that the state government has been denying agriculture issues were not a reason behind them," said BJP MLA Pradip Purohit.
Congress chief whip Taraprasad Bahinipati said: "It is a shame that the state government does not attribute farmer suicides to agricultural issues."
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Updated Date: Nov 30, 2017 07:24:50 IST