Even as union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh has blamed love affairs and then impotency for farmer suicides, figures recorded by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) completely contradict him.
According to the NCRB report, released recently, 87.5% of farmer suicides in Himachal Pradesh were due to crop failure in 2014 and the state also tops the northern region in absolute number of suicides by farmers with 32 such cases. The cause of 28 of these has been listed as crop failure.
In number of farmers suicides, Punjab recorded 24, Haryana had 14, Jammu and Kashmir had 12 while Delhi, Uttrakhand and Chandigarh recorded nil, as per the report.
In Himachal, the only 4.7 % farmers have committed suicide due to 'suspected/illicit relations' and 2.3% due to 'cancellation/non settlement of marriage'.
In Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir there was no suicide due to crop failure. Punjab recorded 3 suicides due to indebtedness which was due to non-agriculture loan, while there was no suicide in Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir for indebtedness. Most of the suicides in these states are due to illness, drug abuse/alcohol addiction and property dispute.
There were a total of 644 suicides ( any cause) in HP in 2014, where as in 2013 there were 554. So, there is a jump of 16.2 %, which is the 4th highest increase rate in the country.
Meanwhile, Himachal Pradesh Kisan Sabha president Kuldeep Tanwar said that NCRB report needs to be paid heed to, before the crisis assumed draconian proportions.
"With only 11.17 % land under agriculture and pressure on land mounting, the state is now facing an agrarian crisis that is already beset by problems line inclement weather, the menace of needing to protect crops from wild animals and fluctuating market prices of the produce. The state government needs to design farmer-friendly policies," he said.