Farmers staged a 12-hour road blockade on a national highway in Orissa Monday to protest farmer suicides in Jharsuguda district, bringing vehicular traffic to a halt.
The agitation coincided with yet another farmer suicide in Pipilkani village in Lakhanpur block of Jharsuguda district where the farmer suicides had been reported on Oct 4. But the fresh case of farmer suicide, officials said, is "yet to be confirmed".
The opposition parties Monday visited the spot where the farmers were holding agitation to express solidarity with them and have demanded resignation of Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout.
"We demand the resignation of the agriculture minister. The minister has hurt the feelings of the farmers by ruling out that the suicide reported on Oct 4 from Lakhanpur block was due to crop loss. He should resign owning moral responsibility," said Suresh Pujari, Orissa unit Bharatiya Janata Party president.
However, Damodar Rout has rejected the demand, saying the reason behind the farmer's suicide was yet to be confirmed.
"Let the reason for the death come out clearly - whether the farmer has committed suicide due to crop loss or not. There was no reason for the farmer's death as the loan the farmer had taken was not to be repaid immediately," said Rout.
Meanwhile, the state government has decided to conduct an assessment of the crop loss in the district by divisional officers from the revenue department and agriculture department jointly before announcing relief measures.