October 17, 2014

INDIA: 250 Farmers Committed Suicide In 4 months In Telangana

The Times of India
written by Staff
Friday October 17, 2014

HYDERABAD - The farmers in Telangana are a distressed lot. Saddled with insurmountable debts, nearly 250 of them ended their lives in the past four months. On an average, at least two farmers have been committing suicide a day in the state just this Kharif season that is set to come to a close in the next two or three weeks. The harvest is expected to take place by the end of October or early November.

Incidentally, of the 40 farmer suicides in Medak district since TRS assumed power, 18 of them were in chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao's assembly constituency of Gajwel. Warangal continues to have the dubious distinction of high est such deaths with 54 recorded so far in the past four months.

As per a GO issued in 2004, which is still in force, the government is required to provide immediate financial and rehabilitation assistance to families of farmers who commit suicide irrespective of the reason for such an act.

"The farmers in the state have lost all hope," said Ravula Chandrasekhar Reddy, Telangana TDP politburo member. "It is not that we expect miracles from a government that is barely fourmonth old. But we also do not expect disasters like these," he told TOI. "There has not been one sentence of condo lence from anyone in the ruling TRS," said Congress deputy leader in the legislative council Md Ali Shabbir, a former power minister.

While no TRS leader or elected representative was willing to come on record to talk on the issue of farmers' suicides, privately, some party leaders admitted that it was an issue the government should have taken seriously. However, they preferred to hold the previous governments responsible for the sad plight of farmers in the state accusing them of neglecting the rural power supply and irrigation sectors. While as of now there are records of 234 farmers' suicides as verified by the local police, the figure is set to touch 250 if the deaths that occurred in the past 10 days are taken into account. "Suicide is a result of a person coming to a conclusion that he or she cannot solve a problem and also cannot see anyone else coming to their rescue to solve that problem," Diana Monteiro, a counselling psychologist and director of Hyderabad Academy of Psychology explained.

When the TRS announced that it would waive loans as promised in its election manifesto, the farming community stood by the party and is believed to have voted for it in large numbers catapulting it to power. However, the delays in implementing the loan waiver scheme and the riders attached to it, diluting the promise, has meant that many farmers who hoped to be freed from the cluthes of debts, suddenly found themselves at a loss. Not a single government representative or TRS leader has visited any of these families, allege TDP and Congress. "Despite championing the cause of farmers, TRS has completely ignored the provisions of GO 421 of 2004 which stipulates that the state is responsible for providing relief to families of farmers who commit suicide," Shabbir said.

In fact, the GO does not differentiate reasons for such deaths but lays down that irrespective of the reason, the government has to provide certain amount of relief, not exceeding Rs 2 lakh per family . The GO mandates the government to take steps to rehabilitate the family of the deceased farmer.

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