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Deshmukh Govt faces flak over farmers' suicides
December 07, 2005 03:50 IST
Even as Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh went on record that the number of farmers' suicides in the state is touching 1000, the state government has managed to pay compensation in only 220 odd cases so far.
State revenue secretary K S Vatsa said, "So far we have managed to identify around 220 families of farmers who have committed suicide due to crop failure or indebtedness. We have paid all the families a compensation of Rs 1 lakh."
Vatsa explained that the compensation process was hampered by the lengthy investigation procedure. The state has so far managed to cover families of farmers who committed suicide from January 2001 to December 2004.
Vatsa added that this year 130 cases had come up for compensation of which, only 40 had been recompensed.
The public interest litigation in the case filed by an Indore-based NGO, the All India Bio-dynamic and Organisation Farming Association, is coming up for hearing in the Bombay high court on Wednesday.
In two interim orders the court had directed the government to investigate the suicide incidents and made the Centre a respondent in the suit.
A report submitted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences under the court's directive, pointed out that 644 farmers had committed suicide in the state between 2001 and 2004.
The primary cause of the suicides, the report noted was repeated crop failures, inability to meet the rising cost of cultivation and chronic indebtedness. Almost 70 per cent of the farmers were cotton farmers, 5 per cent were horticulturists, 20 per cent grew pulses, soya bean, grain and vegetables.The largest group of suicides were from the medium and small farmers who had exhausted all their institutional credit and went the moneylender way. The report also noted that it was not only the landowning farmers who faced indebtedness but also the landless who had leased land cultivation on longôshort term by securing loans.