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'2000 Andhra farmers died under Cong rule'

November 22, 2004 10:19 IST

More than 2000 farmers and weavers have died in the 193 days of Congress rule in Andhra Pradesh, the main opposition Telugu Desam Party has said.

The toll reached this 'unprecedented mark' despite the "pro-farmer and pro-poor policies" adopted by the Congress regime, a TDP report said on Sunday.

Releasing a detailed list of 1,825 farmers who committed suicide and another 177 people, including handloom weavers, who died of starvation during the six months of Congress rule, the Telugu Desam legislature party's deputy leader, Nagam Janardhan Reddy, demanded a government white paper on the deaths.

"It proves that all the efforts of the government to prevent suicides have not worked," Reddy pointed out.

"The farmers have no confidence that the chief minister can solve their problems. Some farmers even carried pesticide bottles when they went to meet the CM at his camp office at Lake View guest house," he revealed.

"No other state has recorded so many farmers' suicides in the last six months. It proves the inefficiency of the Congress government in tackling the problem," the former TDP minister said.

He claimed that only one farmer (Narapa Reddy from Pulivendula constituency) benefited after 70,000 distressed farmers registered their names for help. The helplines for the farmers have become 'hopeless lines'," Janardhan Reddy said.

The list compiled by TDP workers runs into 55 pages and gives out district-wise details of the farmers including name, age, address, mode and date of suicide.

It also includes cases for which the government has not announced relief measures.

Karimnagar topped the list with 210 deaths, followed by Prakasam with 171, Mahbubnagar 150, Medak 142, Nalgonda 126, Nizamabad 120, Kurnool 117, Anantapur 111 and Guntur 110. In other districts, deaths numbered less than 100.

The Andhra Pradesh goverment has dismissed the TDP list as "exaggerated."

Minister of agriculture N Raghuveera Reddy said that though 2,000 farmers might have committed suicide, not all of the deaths were farm-related. He asserted that only 400 suicides in the last six months were farm-related.

"We have set up a committee to verify the claims, and based on its report, we are paying compensation. We have to find out whether the suicides are farm-related or not. The government is functioning in a transparent manner and it has nothing to hide," he said.

Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad