Farm suicides: look to helpline, land in jail
Mr. Madhiletti's brush with the helpline — which saw a revenue inspector harass him for a bribe — convinced him that suicide was the only way out. The indebted farmer tried killing himself right at the Collectorate in Mahbubnagar. He failed and wound up paying thousands of rupees in hospital costs. And the man who had gone to the helpline for aid, languished in jail on the charge of attempted suicide until his hard-up village took out a collection and raised bail for him.
"All I wanted from the Government was help with a bank loan. My family has 12 acres, after all, and surely we should get a loan against that land? But we could not."
The villagers, though, have drawn a bleak lesson from this saga of a little farmer and the mighty apparatus of state. "From their point of view," says a local journalist, "none of this would have happened if he had paid that bribe of Rs.2,000. He would have had no problem." But Mr. Madhiletti has little time for reflection. He has to fulfil his contract with an unsparing seed company.
The government is talking about financial help, irrigation facilities etc. to help farmers, given all that is happening (which has its own caveats), what about the implementation of these policies? There might be a government helpline, but if getting help is not easy, is it of any help?