The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday granted three months' time to the Punjab government for framing a scheme regarding financial assistance and other relief, on the pattern of Andhra Pradesh, to check suicides by debt-ridden farmers in the state.
The directions came from the division bench comprising chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Arun Palli.
The petitioner organisation, Movement Against State Repression, had raised the issue of framing a policy-envisaging payment to families of farmers who had committed suicide due to financial constraints on account of indebtedness after January 2000.
Kahan Singh Pannu, secretary, agriculture department, Punjab, informed the court that the department was framing an appropriate scheme in consultation with the revenue department as the latter was already running a scheme regarding the grant of Rs. 2 lakh each to the families of farmers/farm labourers who commit suicide due to indebtedness.
It was also informed that consultations for the framing of a scheme was also required with the finance department and the state farmers' commission. It was also informed that the state government had already written to the Andhra Pradesh government for giving details of its scheme and the reply was still awaited.
4,685 took extreme step
A state-level survey of suicides by farmers and farm labourers due to debt during 2000-08 was got conducted through the three state universities Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana; Punjabi University, Patiala; and Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. As per the survey reports, 4,685 persons 2,943 farmers and 1,742 farm labourers had committed suicide due to debt during this period.
The Punjab government would now have to submit its compliance report to the court on August 8.