207 farmers’ suicides in 4 months in Telangana అక్టోబర్ 8, 2014Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in ecology, Economy, Identity, Karimnagar, livelihoods, Mahabubnagar, Medak, Nizamabad, suicide, Telangana.
207 farmers allegedly committed suicide in Telangana in 4 months
Sreenivas Janyala, October 8, 2014 Indian Express
At least 207 farmers have committed suicide in Telangana in the last four months, according to Rythu Swarajya Vedika, an umbrella group of voluntary organisations working on farmers’ issues. The situation is grim in Warangal where 52 farmers allegedly committed suicide, followed by 35 in Medak, 31 in Adilabad, 28 in Nalgonda, 27 in Karimnagar and 18 in Mahbubnagar.
Inadequate rainfall, dry bore wells, depletion of ground water and scarce irrigation facilities leading to general crop failure have been cited as the reasons that forced these farmers to end their lives.
“A majority of the victims are tenant farmers who pay very high rates to take land on lease, often paying up to Rs 10,000 per acre per season. When their crops fail, they are left in debt. With private financiers hounding them, they take their own lives,’’ said RTI activist B Kondala Reddy who is associated with Rythu Swarajya Vedika, and Caring Citizens Collective, an NGO. The Agriculture Department officials said cotton and chilli farmers have been hit hard, because of unseasonal showers and lack of sufficient rainfall.
In Warangal, the groundwater levels went down this September to 8.06 metres below ground level, last September it was at 5.07 metres. Officials said Warangal received 31 per cent less than normal rainfall this year. The situation is the same in Adilabad with 29 per cent deficit and Nalgonda with 38 per cent less rainfall. In Medak district where 35 farmers allegedly committed suicide, there was only 44 per cent rainfall putting thousands of paddy, cotton and sugarcane farmers in distress.
There were five farmer suicides each in Ranga Reddy and Khammam and six in Nizamabad.
Officials say since agriculture in Telangana is predominantly dependent on bore wells, depleted groundwater levels coupled with power cuts have hit the farmers. Agriculture Minister P Srinivas Reddy blamed the previous Congress government for the plight of farmers. “The previous government did not create proper irrigation facilities nor has it bothered about the welfare of farmers. The farm loan waiver of the TRS government will aid the farmers immensely,’’ Reddy said, when asked about the alleged suicides.
Meanwhile, data put together by the CID, Telangana State, reveals that last year in undivided Andhra Pradesh 2014 persons involved in farming and agriculture activity committed suicide. The report says, 460 were women and 1554 male farmers. The highest number of farmer suicides last year was in Mahbubnagar (287) now in Telangana, followed by Anantapur (256) in Andhra. In other Telangana districts, 147 committed suicide in Karimnagar, 113 in Medak, 135 in Khammam and 107 in Ranga Reddy. On the Andhra side, 107 farmer suicides occurred last year in Krishna district.