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Protests on farmer suicides adjourn Telangana assembly

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Hyderabad: To seek clarifications from the government on the issue of farmers’ suicides, the opposition stalled the Telangana assembly proceedings on Thursday, following which, it was adjourned till Monday.

The adjournment within 15 minutes angered the opposition Congress, TDP, BJP and the Left parties, whose legislators staged a sit-in on the road in front of the assembly. The policemen bodily lifted the lawmakers into the vehicles and removed them.

As soon as the House met for the day, Congress and other opposition parties raised the issue of farmers’ suicides and wanted to know what steps the government propose to take immediately to check the suicides.

Speaker Madhusudhana Chary said there was detailed debated on the issue for two days and the government has also given the reply. He tried to go ahead with the question hour but the Congress legislators disrupted the proceedings.

Raising slogans, they demanded that the government make a clear-cut announcement on waiver of farm loans. Amid pandemonium, the speaker adjourned the House till Monday.

Angry over the adjournment, the opposition lawmakers together launched a sit-in on the road in front the assembly, leading to traffic jam. They alleged that government ran away from debate on the most important issue.

The opposition legislators were forcibly evicted from the assembly on Wednesday night when they remained seated in the House even after it was adjourned. They alleged that the government did not give a satisfactory reply and Deputy Speaker Padma Devender Reddy, who was in the chair, abruptly adjourned the House.

In the legislative council, the question hour was taken up after the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government gave the assurance that Agriculture Minister P Srinivas Rao will reply to the debate on farmers’ suicides.

(With inputs from IANS)

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No deaths: Agriculture ministry is ostrich-like over farmer suicides

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New Delhi: If the union agriculture ministry is to be believed, not a single farmer’s suicide was registered in Bihar and Rajasthan in the past 15 years due to agrarian reasons. This is sharp contrast to the data isues by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

Altogether, 7,927 suicides were recorded by people involved in agriculture/farming between 2000 and 2014 in Rajasthan and 975 in Bihar, according to the NCRB.

The department of agriculture’s ‘no deaths’ in the two states during the years 2000 to 2014 came in response to an RTI enquiry by IANS. No explanation was given given by the department as to why they have no record of such deaths.

Not only that, according to the department, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh registered only four and one deaths, respectively, due to agrarian reasons during the same period.

The NCRB data on suicides, though, shows that in Madhya Pradesh 21,138 suicides by famers occured while Uttar Pradesh saw 8,531 deaths in the fifteen years in question.

Among the other states that reported zero or single-digit number of farmer suicide, according to RTI reply sent by the department, were Odisha, Haryana, West Bengal, Delhi, Tripura, Assam, Jharkhand, and Himachal Pradesh.

It also said that states like Gujarat and Chhattisgarh recorded, in 15 years, just five and one deaths, respectively.

The NCRB puts the number of farmer suicides case in 15 years in Chhattisgarh at 15,099, West Bengal 13,098, Gujarat, 8,309, Assam 3,908, Odisha 3,439, Jharkhand 1,197, Himachal Pradesh 669, Tripura 430 and Delhi 191.

The Union agriculture minister Radhe Mohan Singh drew sharp criticism from the media in July this year for attributing the causes of farmers’ suicide to issues like love affair and impotency in a reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on the issue of farmers’ suicide.

The department of agriculture may argue that the NCRB data of suicides involving people in agriculture and farming may be due to various factors like bankruptcy or sudden change in economic status, marital trouble, not having children, illness, death of dear a person, dowry dispute or other issues — everything other than agrarian distress.

But experts say that each factor — as stated by NCRB — responsible for suicides is directly or indirectly related to agrarian reason. It has also said that states do not record farmers’ suicides in a serious manner.

“There are lots of discrepancies in the registering farmers’ suicide data by the states. A large number of farmers in our country don’t have their own land. Most of them work on somebody else’s land. The government doesn’t record suicides committed by these farmers,” K. Nagaraj, former professor at Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS) in Tamil Nadu told IANS.

The reason state governments don’t register farmers’ suicides, he adds, was because they know they would have to compensate their families. “Moreover, they understate the figures because they want to show that the situation is not so bad,” Nagaraj said.

According to the data received from the department of agriculture and cooperation, the only states which registered any large number of farmers suicides in 15 years were Maharashtra with 7,678 deaths, Andhra Pradesh with 2,259 deaths, Karnataka with 1,484 and Kerala with 948. Tamil Nadu had recorded 13 deaths, it said.

The NCRB of course paints a totally different picture. Maharashtra saw 54,941 suicides, Andhra Pradesh 30,752, Karnataka 30,604 Kerala 16,088 and Tamil Nadu 12,373.

According to NCRB data, the total number of suicides by people involved in farming/agriculture from 2000 to 2014 is 238,658. However, the number of such suicides as stated by the department of agriculture during the same period is 18,271 — less than eight per cent. Something obviously is wrong in the system.

(Sidhartha Dutta, IANS)

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Telangana CM appeals to farmers: Don’t end lives

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Wednesday appealed to farmers not to commit suicides and assured them government assistance.

Replying to the two-day debate in the state assembly on farmers’ suicides, the chief minister said his government was evolving a strategy to solve the problems faced by farmers.

He listed out some steps taken in the last 16 months and also revealed what he proposed to do in the coming days.

KCR, as the chief minister is popularly known, said his government would mobilise another Rs 9,000 crore required for waiver of farm loans.

He said that fulfilling its election promise, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government has already released Rs 8,000 crore to waive loans of 36 lakh farmers.

The chief minister said the state has to get Rs 3,000 crore from the 14th Finance Commission with expected increase of Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) limit.

The state government hopes to mobilise another Rs 3,000 crore from sale of government land.

He said another Rs 4,500 crore was expected as tax arrears.

The opposition criticised the government for implementing the loan waiver scheme in installments and blamed it for increase in farmers’ suicides.

It demanded that the remaining amount be released at once to provide some relief to farmers.

Stating that farmers’ suicides was not a problem of only Telangana, KCR said it was a nationwide problem, and the neighbouring states recorded more suicides than Telangana.

While appealing to farmers not to end their lives, KCR said Telangana state was not achieved for farmers to commit suicides.

He blamed the neglect and injustice suffered by Telangana in the undivided Andhra Pradesh for the crisis in the agriculture sector.

Reiterating his vision to turn Telangana into the ‘seed bowl of the world’, he assured the assembly that his government will take all steps in this regard.

He said 364 seed companies based in and around Hyderabad will adopt a ‘mandal’ each for the seed production.

He cited lack of irrigation facility, depleting ground water, deforestation, poor rainfall and lack of research in agriculture as other reasons for farmers’ suicides.

KCR said the government would focus on research to increase agricultural productivity.

An agricultural officer will be appointed for every 5,000 acres.

He told the house that the agriculture department has 5,000 vacancies.

Stating that the problems of farmers can’t be solved without providing irrigation facility, he said the government has given top priority to complete the projects pending for decades.

He said Rs 25,000 crore will be allocated every year for the next three years to complete the projects.

Claiming that his government overcame the electricity shortage in less than a year and was supplying uninterrupted power to industry, he said the farm sector was also being provided quality power for seven hours a day.

He promised that from March next year, this will be increased to nine hours a day.

Agriculture Minister P Srinivas Reddy said recently that 430 famers ended their lives in the last 15 months.

The opposition parties, however, alleged that 1,400 famers have ended their lives since the separate state came into existence in June last year.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 898 farmers committed suicides in Telangana during 2014.

It was the second highest number in the country after Maharashtra, which reported 2,568 farmer suicides.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Telangana legislature rocked by farmer suicides

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Hyderabad: The spate of suicides by farmers in Telangana rocked both houses of the state legislature on Tuesday.

Voicing concern over the suicides, the state government said it was taking all steps to help the farmers overcome the hardships.

Suspending question hour and other business, both houses took up a debate on the issue, which was marred by allegations and counter-allegations by the ruling and opposition parties.

In the legislative council, opposition parties demanded the house observe silence in memory of the farmers who committed suicide but the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) turned down the demand.

Council chairman Swamy Goud said the house can pay its condolences after the debate.

Despite best efforts of the government to help the farmers, they end lives due to crop damage due to deficit rainfall, Agriculture Minister P Srinivas Reddy said while making a statement in the assembly.

For the present situation, the minister blamed policies of the successive governments in the undivided Andhra Pradesh.

The agriculture sector was neglected for decades. The irrigation projects were not taken up while minor irrigation system was totally ignored, he said, blaming depleting ground water table and erratic electricity supply among other reasons for the farmers’ distress.

Sowing operations were taken up across the state with good rains in the beginning of the season in June. However, a dry spell for more than 25 days led to rainfall deficit of 66 percent.

The rains in August and September brought down the deficit to 14 percent, 50 to 70 percent crops were damaged in five districts, he said.

In Mahabubnagar district, 100 percent crops were damaged, the minister said.

This year various crops were cultivated in the area of 35.13 lakh hectares, which includes over 26 lakh hectares rainfed crops and nine lakh hectares irrigated crops.

Srinivas Reddy said under the Rs 17,000 crore loan waiver scheme for farmers, the government spent only a 50 percent amount.

The government will consider providing the remaining amount in one go to provide relief to farmers, he said.

The government also increased compensation for farmer suicide deaths from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh.

The minister said 430 famers ended their lives in last 15 months. The opposition parties however alleged that 1,400 famers committed suicide since the separate state came into existence in June last year.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 898 farmers committed suicides in Telangana during 2014. It was the second highest number in the country after Maharashtra, which reported 2,568 farmer suicide deaths.

Participating in the debate, main opposition Congress Party’s Jeevan Reddy and Telugu Desam Party’s E Dayakar Rao said the implementation of loan waiver scheme in installments was leading to suicides.

(IANS)

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Farmer suicide: Telangana farmer climbs phone tower, threatens to jump