Ministers deny loan burden as cause for farmers suicide in Orissa

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Bhubaneswar,Feb 15 (UNI) Orissa Agriculture Minister Surendra Nath Nayak today denied the Opposition's allegation that the farmers in the state burdened with cooperative loan, were committing suicide.

Mr Nayak said the government had probed all allegations of farmers suicide, which appeared in a section of the press, and concluded that they were not committing suicide owing to loan burden.

He was supported by State Cooperation Minister Surama Padhy, who said no repressive and coercive measures had been adopted by the Cooperative societies to collect outstanding loans from the farmers.

The Ministers were replying to the admissibility of an adjournment motion brought by the Opposition alleging that farmers were committing suicide largely due to the loan burden.

However, both the Agriculture Minister and Cooperation Minister admitted that there had been some irregularities in the disbursement of loan to the farmers and concrete action had been taken against the erring officials after an inquiry into the incident.

The Opposition demanding waiving of agricultural loan from the farmers later staged a walkout in the House stating that the government was underplaying the farmers suicide and taking the serious issue very lightly.

The Agriculture Minister said the government had already informed the House in the past about the suicide of farmer in Rayagada and Bolangir district.

He said the Jajpur District Collector had probed the suicide of Nabaghana Sahu and pointed out some irregularities in sanction of loan to the farmer who committed suicide. The department accordingly had initiated necessary steps.

On the suicide of another farmer Pramod Sahu in Baragarh district, Mr Nayak said as per the district collector's report the farmers had not availed any agricultural loan from the cooperative bank but his elder brother had taken a loan of Rs 80,000 from the Indian Overseas Bank to purchase a power tiller in June last.

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