THE GOVERNMENT today denied in the UP Assembly that there was any starvation death or suicide due to hunger by any farmer anywhere in the State.
It said strict orders had been issued to district magistrates and commissioners that they would be held responsible for any starvation death though no such incident had so far been reported from any part of the State. The government also denied reports of shortage of fertilizer and seeds.
However, Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey allowed an hour’s debate on the issue.
Raising the issue through an adjournment notice during the Zero Hour, leader of the opposition Lalji Tandon quoted newspaper reports to say that over 50 farmers had committed suicide in Bundelkhand region and in parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh and regretted that so far no preventive measures had been taken and no efforts were made by the government to provide relief to the affected farmers.
He also alleged that money-lenders were looting farmers with impunity and warned the situation could lead to a serious law and order problem. Tandon expressed concern over the total collapse of the public distribution system (PDS) and said the situation was alarming but the government was not realising its gravity.
Tandon said farmers were forced to sell their wives and children for food grain or loot godowns. Some were even eating ‘ghasroti’, as the scheme of free food grain for people living below poverty line had been withdrawn.
Opposing the notice, Revenue Minister Ambika Chaudhary while denying starvation deaths, said only 15 cases of farmer deaths in the Bundelkhand region had come to light during investigation, but none of them was a starvation death.
Some farmers had committed suicide, he admitted, but there were other reasons like family dispute behind these deaths.