Farmer’s Suicide : Cong Moves Privilege Notice Against Minister

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Bhubaneswar : Opposition Congress today served a privilege notice against Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy accusing him of misleading the Odisha Assembly on the suicide of a farmer.

While moving the privilege notice, Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress said “action may be taken to punish the Hon’ble minister and the officers responsible for misleading the House for breach of privilege after making enquiry by the Privilege Committee.”

Noting that the government made a statement in the House on the death of Khainu Bagarti alias Hadu of Bargarh district on March 4, Mishra said that agriculture minister had told the Assembly that the farmer had committed suicide following a dispute with his wife.

The minister had further stated that the suicide had no link with crop loss or loan burden. “The minister has admitted that there was some problem on supply of electricty,” he said.

As per the statement of Maharathy on February 26, Mishra said, the farmer had exchange of words with his wife and because of the said dispute, he might have consumed persticide and consequently died.

The minister admitted that the farmer had incurred a loan of Rs 18,818 from the cooperative service society.

The wife of the deceased farmer had denied any quarrel with him and said he committed suicide because of crop failure due to non-supply of electricity and loan burden, Mishra said.

Mishra said he had constituted an Advocates’ Committee, comprising lawyers of both Bolangir and Bargarh districts, to probe the matter. The committee report said that the farmer had committed suicide because of crop failure and loan burden.

“It further says that there has been no quarrel or any ill feeling between Hadu Bagarti and his wife.”

He said that the collector of Bargarh had not visited the suicide spot or talked to the family members of the deceased before preparing the report which was read out in the House by the minister. “The minister should have asked the collector for further probe if he was not satisfied,” the Congress leader said.

Congress chief whip Taraprasad Bahinipati demanded immediate suspension of Bargarh collector for providing a report on the issue without conducting proper investigation.

“The Collector should be immediately suspended and if needed he should be dismissed under article 311 after investigation,” said Bahinipati.