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Farmers suicides are caused by lavish expenditure on weddings, education & loans for borewells, etc- says Telangana govt నవంబర్ 29, 2015

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in biodiversity, Economy, livelihoods, suicide, Telangana, TRS.
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What drives farmers to suicide? Telangana govt says lavish weddings, expensive education

ABP Live, Our special correspondents and agencies, Sunday, 29 November 2015

Hyderabad: Telangana has told Hyderabad High Court that expenses farmers run up to hold lavish weddings for their daughters and educate their children in expensive private schools were among the many reasons that drove them to suicide.

The state’s claim, which has triggered outrage among activists, came in an affidavit filed in response to petitions by farmers’ groups seeking a direction to the state to take steps to end such suicides.

The activists have termed the government response “fictional” and “irresponsible”. They claimed that attributing such reasons for the deaths of financially distressed farmers “belittled the contribution and sacrifices” of the farming community in general.

They said such a response was “ridiculous” and “misleading” given that over 231 of 443 rural mandals in Telangana had been declared drought-hit and the state had itself sought immediate aid of Rs 1,000 crore from the Centre. Mahbubnagar, Medak, Nizamabad and Rangareddy are among the worst affected districts.

Kondal Reddy, an activist working full-time with farmers, said there was no proof that lavish weddings were a cause of farmer suicides.

He said that according to a recent National Crime Records Bureau study, over 80 per cent farmer suicides were triggered by crop failure and stacked-up debts and the lack of mechanism to address both.

The other reasons the government has listed include private loans taken to visit Gulf countries for employment, private lending, crop failure for two consecutive years, indiscriminate digging of borewells, family disputes and prolonged illness.

The state told the court the affidavit was based on the findings of a three-member team that visited affected districts for verification and certification of the suicides.

It said the number of farmer suicides reported in the state from June 2014 to October 2015 was 782, of which 342 had been found to be genuine. It disagreed with the petitioners’ claim that 1,347 farmers had taken their lives in desperation since the Telangana Rashtra Samiti took charge of the state.

“The government has also hiked the ex-gratia for bereaved families from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakhs besides a crop loan waiver fund,” the affidavit said.

“Debt waiver for farmers has been ineffective and has just filled the coffers of politicians and bankers,” an activist said.

Other activists like Kiran Kumar Vissa of Rythu Swarajya Vedika and Changal Reddy of the Andhra Pradesh Farmers’ Federation termed the government response “a laughing matter” and “an insult to the poor debt-trapped farmer”.

The farmers’ petition was filed in October by the Telangana Vidhyavanthula Vedika, a wing of the Telangana Joint Action Committee, and the Telangana Rythu Joint Action Committee.

The government urged the court to dismiss the petition. The case will be heard next on Monday.

The Telegraph, Kolkata
Source: http://www.abplive.in/india-news/what-drives-farmers-to-suicide-telangana-government-says-lavish-weddings-expensive-education-252174

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