Concerned over reports of a fresh wave of farmers’ suicide during the current year in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday issued notices to the chief secretaries of the three states, seeking reports.
HT had on December 7 reported that over 700 farmers resorted to the extreme step, pushing their families deeper into poverty. Six-hundred-and-eighty farmers committed suicide in six districts of Maharashtra during 2011 while 90 farmers took their lives in as many districts of Andhra Pradesh between October and November this year, HT had reported, quoting farm-sector organisations.
Eight cases of farmers’ suicide have been reported from Wayanad district in Kerala in November alone, Kerala’s agriculture minister had told HT. “The contents of the media report, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of human rights of the farmers in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala,” the NHRC said.
Causes of suicides are hotly contested. While governments tend to claim these are largely due to indebtedness unrelated to farming, campaigners blame lopsided policies.
The suicides are being blamed on factors such as climate change and inflation. According to Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd, a weakening rupee against the dollar has led to a Rs 3,500-a-tonne increase in fertiliser prices.