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Survey over, NCP demands loan waiver

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 24: The Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party today demanded a waiver of the outstanding agriculture loans on farmers and a probe into the sale of spurious seeds.

Talking to journalists today, NCP steering committee president Bijoy Mohapatra mentioned the recent suicide of one Ram Chandra Rana — a farmer from Kusuli village under Jamankira block in Sambalpur, who took his life after the outstanding loan of Rs 25,000 became too much for him — to make his point.

Mohapatra, who had led an NCP “fact-finding team” to the village recently, said there were more farmers in the village who were “afraid” after they received notices from co-operative societies to pay up.

“It’s terrible that the Naveen Patnaik government is forcibly recovering loans from farmers while granting concessions to big industrial houses,” he said.

Describing the sequences leading to Rana’s suicide, he said the farmer had received a notice from Kulundi Co-operative Society on November 19 asking him to repay the loan within seven days, else a case would be filed against him in court. On December 14, Rana was reported missing while his body was found hanging from a tree on December 17.

Blaming the co-operative society and the government for the farmer’s death, Mohapatra said such incidents would recur if the outstanding loans, were not waived, especially for those who were in no position to pay.

“It’s time that the government take stock of the situation and take remedial measures to prevent suicides and starvation deaths,” he warned.

Senior party leader and former state president of JD(S), Ashok Das, who was a part of the team, added that the late Rana was also “cheated” by the system when he purchased “certified" seeds (at the rate of Rs 137 per kg) from the government agency, which did not germinate.

“This was not a solitary case. Similar cases has happened to many other farmers of the area,” added Das, demanding an immediate probe into the sale of spurious seeds. The leaders warned that if the cases were not solved immediately there would be farmers’ unrest.

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