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Parliament panel lists reasons for farmer suicides
R Prema in New Delhi | March 22, 2007 20:36 IST
A parliamentary panel has said that frequent incidents of suicides by farmers all over country were a matter of concern and attributed it to distress sales of their produce and continuous crop failure.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, which tabled its report, said they have counted 11,782 suicides by farmers during the past five years.
The panel has asked the government to abrogate a law that provides for arrest of defaulting farmers. "The committee is shocked to learn that in some states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, there is a law to arrest farmers who default in repayment of loans," said MPs said. They further said that they were shocked to notice that in these states, not only the farmers were put behind the bars, but the expenditure incurred on their food, transport and other things in jail were also recovered from them.
The Committee, headed by Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav, observed that the agriculture minister in a letter to the chief ministers of Bihar, Jharkhand, Kerala, Orissa, Punjab and UP in April 2006 had taken up the matter of review of state laws to remove the provision for arrest and detention of farmers.
"The last letter (to states) for amending the relevant state laws was issued on August 12, 2005, and it seems that the government has no will to act but is only performing the duty of a postman in a way, that based on the recommendations of the committee, a letter is written to the states to do the needful," it said.
Stating that the farmers have not got their full dues, the committee said they have to sell their produce at very low rates and are not able to repay their debts due to drought and continuous crop failures.
"Under the circumstances, the only escape route for them is to commit suicide. Thus, in the last five years, as per the records of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, about 11,782 farmers have ended their lives out of frustration and humiliation", the report added.