While farmer suicides in states like Maharashtra and earlier Andhra Pradesh have drawn much media and government attention, those in Chhattisgarh have gone virtually unnoticed. Yet, the suicide rate among farmers is the highest in Chhattisgarh.
According to calculations by Canada-based scholar Yuvraj Gajpal, who used data from the National Crime Records Bureau, the suicide rate among Chhattisgarh’s farmers in 2006 was 6.49 per one lakh farmers. The corresponding figure for Maharashtra was 4.28 and Andhra Pradesh 3.24.
And 2006 isn’t the only year. Every year since 2001, Chhattisgarh has been at the top of the farmers’ suicides table.
Chhattisgarh being a small state, the absolute number of farmer suicides is lower than in Maharashtra and Andhra. But that’s no consolation.
“A study should be conducted to find out the reasons,” said Asras Shastri, director (research), Indira Gandhi Agriculture University, Raipur.
“Chhattisgarh farmers are known to stick to traditional crops. The loans they take are generally small. The high suicide rate is baffling,” said economist Pradeep Choubey.