FARMERS ON THE WAR PATH: STATE TERRORISM CANNOT BE THE REMEDY

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Single-minded steering of State administration by Chief Minister Navin Patnaik into the service of industry at the cost of agriculture has ruined the principal avocation of the people of Orissa to such tragic instability that the farming community of the State is being forced to witness how its devastated members are committing suicide one after one under loads of loan.

Orissa’s unique eco-system has been openly butchered in Navin regime by the mining mafias in all the parts of the State that were from time immemorial covered under Mother Nature’s impregnable green blessings, enlivened with flora and fauna, with perennial streams and water falls, with medicinal plants and fertile lands. Yesterday’s Orissa is no more in existence.

Domineered by avaricious industry, its climate has changed. Rains are not regular when farming needs regular supply of water. Irrigation has suffered the worst negligence during the entire decade under Navin’s incumbency. Agriculture department has lost its primacy. Even its officers are no more nearer to farmers. Farmers are left at the disposal of destiny.

Erratic but spontaneous protests of farmers against shifting of priority of water supply from cultivation to industries having willfully ignored by administration, mass wrath has metamorphosed to pasting of black paint on the face of a Deputy Director of agriculture as a token of treatment the people are now eager to give to this government.

The Government has appointed a fact finding committee, which the Opposition suspects to be, in reality, an exonerating committee meant to jumble up scenarios and to contrive administrative jargons to protect the real culprit under whose stewardship the primacy of agriculture has suffered the setback.

But in doing this the government has inadvertently admitted that the administrative department of agriculture has forfeited its credibility in the eyes of the people. Otherwise a joint probe could not have been required and another department, i.e. the revenue department should not have been put in charge of probing into the affairs of agriculture. Now in this joint probe, the officers of agriculture shall have to submit to queries from officials of revenue department. If this is not embarrassing what else is to officers that man the agriculture department?

Shifting of State priority from agriculture to industry has led to this forfeiture of credibility of the agriculture department.

Should the revenue department dance to the tune of the agriculture department to help it retrieve the lost credibility and cooperate in production of a report that would exonerate the agriculture department of all the derelictions that have derailed cultivation in Orissa or shall stick to impassionate probing principles and help people know the hidden culprit is a matter to be watched.

When suicide of farmers can be termed as extreme form of demonstration of their protests, the agro community’s collective wrath expressed in road blockades and demonstrations portend that the time is not far away when the persons on suicide mode would think afresh as to how should they deal with whosoever has or have dragged them to this nasty cul-de-sac.

Call that stage a stage of terrorism, but be sure, state terrorism will never be the remedy.

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