Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
A new problem for the country is discernible, as in Orissa, in the people losing their faith in the government, both central and provincial. This is because; governments are seen more obedient to industry than loyal to the people.
More than 200 farmers have committed suicide in Orissa because of the government’s blatant failure to respond to their problems, which are mostly created by administration.
Farmers are ending their lives in frustration, unable to overcome the problems created by millers and money lenders, by failure of irrigation, by absence of cold storage, by official apathy to impact of natural calamities, by government nexus with industry, by officially created climate of uncertainty over cultivation, by distress sale of their productions, by debt-trap amidst other factors. In Orissa, Utkal University of Agriculture and Technology was established to help farmers with agro-science. But it is producing mandarins who are neither trained nor motivated to be involved with the tillers in their struggle for remunerative cultivation. There is no practical guidance on how to have profitable agriculture, no provision of market facility, and no sanction of timely and appropriate amount of loan with expert advice on how best to use the advances. The State’s Agriculture Policy is of no benefit to farmers. But, so nefarious has been the design of the pro-industry government at the center, that, to hoodwink the hapless farmers of the state, the administration of Orissa is being projected as the best government in matter of agriculture, when farmers in hundreds are committing suicide for failure of agriculture to sustain them!
How anti-farmer is Naveen Patnaik’s government was bare in the concerned minister’s reaction to a suggestion that if compensation is paid to farmers committing suicide, more number of farmers shall be tempted to commit suicide.
Prestige of farmers – once the most proud people of Orissa- has been totally ruined in this regime.
The proud farmers are suffering starvation. Government is keeping them in slow starvation by supplying rice at the rate of rupee one per kg. But they are victims of price rise in every other commodity.
Almost all the new born babies facing neonatal deaths belong to marginal farmers and agricultural workers. Blatant lack of nutrition suffered by their mothers while carrying them, delivers most of the new born babies into the lap of death. Massive majority of babies of these families are stunted before becoming 2 years in age. Malnutrition of babies that waste away before reaching three years is the reality the farming community in Orissa is facing. But the State government is being decorated with Krushi Karmana award for the last four consecutive terms, as in the center, the power holders are also the docile stooges of industries to which genre the State government belongs.
Therefore, the people, marginal farmers and agricultural workers constituting the humongous majority of Orissa’s population, have lost their faith in the governments.
In the circumstances, they have started revolting in Orissa.
A 12 day scheduled fast resorted to by the coordinator of Navanirman Krushak Sangathan Sri Akshaya Kumar on the main road that runs to the Assembly, has been echoing the cries as well as the roars of the farmers, (“Sleeping lions” in the words of Bhagat Singh) determined to start their new war of independence, if priority of administration is not put back to agriculture, specifically addressed to marginal farmers and agricultural workers.
Attached below is a song of their vow that a farmer from Jajpur Rabindranath Sahoo wrote in my presence in the place where Akshaya Kumar is pursuing the penance of fast; and also sung the song with his heart pressed into every alphabet thereof.
This is a warning of the tilling people the anti-people politicians may do better to take note of.