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In shining Gujarat, 500 farmer suicides in 4 yrs

Most of the suicides have taken place in Saurashtra region while 85 farmers ended their lives in Junagadh, reports Sutirtho Patranobis.
Hindustan Times | By Sutirtho Patranobis, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 12, 2007 03:18 AM IST

Debt trap has killed nearly 500 farmers in Gujarat in last four years while another 6,055 farmers died of accidental causes, a state government response to a Right to Information (RTI) application reports.

Most of the suicides have taken place in Saurashtra region while 85 farmers ended their lives in Junagadh district, the data revealed.

The figures were made available by the state government to an RTI application filed by farmer-activist Bharatsinh Jhala. He had sought details of farmers’ suicides in the state where flood devastated life, land and property in last three years.

This year, 36 farmers have ended their lives so far, Jhala told reporters during a press conference organised by an NGO Anhad in the capital on Thursday.

Jhala, who came here with a group of 17 farmers, claimed that not only 489 farmers who are confirmed to have been committed suicide, but also a majority among 6,055 farmers forced to end their lives after they went bankrupt as they couldn’t pay back loans.

Jhala said he filed the application after he found “discrepancies’’ in the information provided by the government in the assembly, which put the number of suicides at 148. Jhala then conducted a survey and found he was right.

The farmers are committing suicide due to production cost exceeding returns, non-availability of cheap agricultural credit and lack of investment in rural social infrastructure, Jhala said.

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