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AP governor concerned about continuing farmer suicides

Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad | June 01, 2004 19:01 IST
Last Updated: June 01, 2004 19:14 IST


One of the biggest reasons for the Telugu Desam Party losing power has been the spate of suicides by farmers who could not clear their debts owing to crop failure.

If anyone believed that a change of government would put an end to the suicides, the death of over 100 farmers (since May 14 when the Congress took over) proved just how wrong they are.

Governor Surjit Singh Barnala on Tuesday expressed deep concern over the deaths during his inaugural address to the newly-elected 12th legislative assembly. Expressing anguish over the suicides, he said the government would do everything to 'obviate the circumstances leading to such human tragedies'.

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The new government would set up an Agriculture Technology Mission, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy, to focus on issues pertaining to farm production and productivity.

"The government is fully sensitive to the suffering and hardship caused by such incidents and my government shall do everything possible to ensure that farmers do not resort to this ultimate act of desperation," the governor said.

He attributed the large number of suicides among farmers and rural artisans all these years to stagnant productivity levels, the result of farmers not getting timely and adequate credit at reasonable rates of interest from the banking sector. This substantially eroded farm viability levels resulting in the agriculture sector registering a very low growth rate during the last 10 years.

The governor urged the legislators 'to join hands and reassure the farming community in one voice that this entire House is solidly behind them and that they need not resort to such extreme steps. The government will do everything possible to improve their economic viability'.

It has already announced free power for the farm sector to provide much-needed succour to the farmers of the state.

It would strive to achieve an overall annual agriculture growth rate of six per cent in real terms and ensure remunerative prices for farm produce.

The government is working on a one-time relief package to liquidate outstanding dues. After settling the dues, it would work out a rehabilitation package to rejuvenate the farming system. Appropriate social support system, including schooling, housing and pension to family members of the suicide victims would form part of the package, he said.

In the long run, the government would strengthen preventive mechanisms right up to the grassroots level.


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