Some farmers in Odisha have burned their crops over pest attack (Representational)
Odisha Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout today said he has no plan of visiting the family of Brunda Sahu, a farmer who committed suicide in Bargarh district, as he did not belong to the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
Mr Rout's statement came after Union Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat today met with the farmer's family members.
"The union minister is visiting as he (Brunda Sahu) might be of the BJP. Since he is not my party man, why should I visit," Mr Rout said.
The farmer committed suicide on November 1, a day after he had set his pest-affected paddy on fire.
Mr Rout said the state government has already ordered a probe into the suicide.
"What for he committed suicide? Why did he set his paddy crop on fire in the field prior to that? On the very next day, he committed suicide in presence of many people. All angles and aspects are being probed into by a high-level team," the BJD minister said.
The Union agriculture minister blamed the state government for not creating awareness on the use of pesticides by farmers, and said as a result they used wrong pesticide on their paddy fields that led to increase in pest attack.
Recently, the farmers of Bargarh, Jharsuguda, Nuapada, Ganjam, Sambalpur and Rayagada districts in Odisha had set their crops on fire as they could not stop the attack of brown plant-hopper pest.
Nine farmers have allegedly committed suicide over crop loss due to pest attack in last few weeks, officials said.
The Odisha government has announced a package of Rs 124 crore for the farmers affected by pest attack in the Kharif season. It notified 1,28,319 hectares of cropped areas in 24 districts as pest-affected.
The state government had announced that agriculture input subsidy at Rs 6,800 per hectare for rain-fed areas and Rs 13,500 per hectare for areas under assured irrigation would be given to farmers who suffered crop loss due to pest attack.