Thursday, April 13, 2006

435 since June 2005

Paromita Shastri's report: 42 Days, 99 Farmer Suicides... on Outlook India.
Medha Patkar was 'arrested' because the police said she was attempting suicide. By that count, 435 farmers who have committed suicide in Vidarbha region alone since June 2005, must be criminals. DA says depression and lure of Rs one lakh for the family is the reason. But what about the state which abdicated its responsibility and left them to die in the first place? 77 farmers killed themselves in March. April, they say, is the cruelest month. The toll in the first 11 days? 22 so far, and counting...
That’s one of the reasons the district administration (DA) says many farmers are killing themselves: Just to get the money. Rs 1,00,000/- for a human life. Cheap, isn’t it?
But, VJS counters, nobody there has got any money so far.
...
if I had a debt hanging on me for a few years and couldn’t think of any way to repay it from my paltry income, I too would be really depressed. Unfortunately, the DA in the same breath vehemently denies that the deaths have anything to do with debt. And that is probably going a bit too far.
...
The SAS also finds that farming in India has become so uneconomic that 40 per cent of our farmers want to get out of the stranglehold of the land. They also don’t get 40 per cent of the price that city consumers pay for their produce. Even close to 60 years after independence, half of rural credit is supplied by local moneylenders at prohibitive rates. The poverty of land and work is simply unprecedented in the backward regions. The sheer despair that leads these helpless people to death can never be felt by city people, who can easily secede from an inefficient administration and surround themselves with private services and barred gates.
...
Last month, 77 farmers committed suicide in Vidarbha, the highest monthly toll so far. The agriculture ministry’s headcount for the country in the last five years is a scandalous 9000!

No comments: