April 13, 2013
The Human Rights Forum (HRF) demands that the government take immediate steps to ensure that the families of farmers who have committed suicide are duly compensated and rehabilitated as envisaged under GO 421. Our enquiries in Mahabubnagar district revealed that 14 farmers have committed suicide in 2012 in just one mandal i.e Bijinapally. Not a single family of these 14 farmers been compensated under GO 421. In fact, of the total farmers’ suicides of 108 reported in the entire district last year, just one family, that of D Anandam in Jangamaipally village in Ghanpur mandal (he committed suicide on 9-8-2012) been given compensation. This is an appalling state of affairs.
A six-member HRF team visited several villages in Bijinapally and Jadcherla mandals of Mahabubnagar district on Saturday (6-4-2013) to look into instances of farmers’ suicides and governmental response. The team spoke with family members of the deceased, as well as their friends and relatives. In all, we elicited facts concerning six suicides in two villages of Bijinapally mandal and one suicide in a village of Jadcherla mandal. All seven had committed suicide during last year.
All these seven farmers belonged to the small and marginal category who were driven to desperation because they had run up accumulated debts of not less than Rs 2 lakh each due to successive failure of crops, principally of cotton. Since formal credit had all but dried up over the years, their borrowings were mostly at high interest rate from the informal sector of money lenders.
HRF is of the opinion that the families of all seven deceased are eligible for the financial assistance and rehabilitation package evolved as support in such cases under G.O 421. In all these cases it can easily and clearly be established that there was “correlation between farm-related operations, economic distress and social humiliation eventually leading to suicide.”
The GO (G.O.Ms.No.421 Rev DA-II Dept., dated 1/6/2004) provides for financial assistance as an interim relief package to support such families. This assistance is in the form of an ex-gratia of Rs one lakh besides loan settlement up to a sum of Rs.50, 000 as one time settlement to creditors. This relief was intended to help in some small measure in pulling these helpless families out of acute distress.
We have no hesitation in stating that the implementation of G.O 421 in Mahbubnagar district is pathetic. For instance, in Bijinapally mandal, the three-member divisional verification and certification committee (consisting of the RDO, DSP and assistant director of agriculture) had so far not completed the requisite enquiries into these cases as is required under GO 421. In fact, the RDO-led committee has not even visited a single village and spoken with family members or other local residents to ascertain facts of the case. This is truly shocking.
Reports of these suicides have appeared prominently in the local media. In fact, three farmers of Karkonda village in Bijenapally mandal had committed suicide within a span of 12 days (from April 23, 2012 to May 4, 2012. Two of them had taken their own lives on successive days, May 3 and 4). Yet, the three-member divisional level committee has not even visited the village till date. This is insensitive and irresponsible negligence.
In fact, many months have gone by, and in several of these seven cases, over a year has gone by since the farmers committed suicide. Yet, they have not gotten any relief. This delay defeats the very purpose of G.O. 421. Not only is the government doing very little to make farming viable, it has even failed in its minimal duty of providing some succour to those families whose earning members were driven to commit suicide as a result of a severe agrarian crisis.
We urge the Collector to immediately convene a review meeting with all RDOs on the matter of implementation of G.O. 421 and ensure that the three-member divisional committees visit the villages, verifies facts and renders justice to the families of farmers who have committed suicide.
VS Krishna (HRF State general secretary)
Madhu Kagula (HRF Mahabubnagar dist. convenor)
Details of farmers suicides HRF enquired into:
Midde Nagaraju (26) of Karkonda villagew, Bijinepally mandal. Committed suicide on 23-4-2012.
Geddampalli Mallesh (35) of Karkonda village, Bijinepally mandal. Died on 3-5-2012.
Boinpally Krishna Rao (45) of Karkonda village, Bijinepally mandal. Died on 4-5-2012.
Jangam Ramaswamy (32) of Palem village, Bijinepally mandal. Died on 5-3-2012.
Paspula Parsuram Goud (27) of Palem village, Bijinepally mandal. Died on 25-11-2012.
Mekala Pullaiah (48) of Bijinepally. Died on 27-1-2012.
Avancha Anjaneyulu (38) of Nasurullabad village, Jadcherla mandal. Died on 17-9-2012.