The organisers of the study are pointing that the high rate of suicide among cotton farmers is something that government has to take cognisance of.

A woman farmer in Telangana sets off to her agricultural field Image for representation, courtesy: Charan Teja
news Agriculture Friday, June 19, 2020 - 19:45

Farmer suicides in Telangana aren't showing any sign of decline despite implementation of the much hailed 'farmer friendly' policies by the government. The state has witnessed as many 85 farmers deaths by suicide in the last six months, according to a new study. 

The study was carried out by Rythu Swarajya Vedika (RSV), a farmer rights organisation which works in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, and reports figures from January to June this year. Of the 85 suicides, most of them are small scale farmers. 

Nalgonda district has a high number of farmer suicides with 15 deaths while Medak has 12 followed by Sangareddy, JS Bhupalapally and Adilabad along with other districts. The brief study has noted several reasons behind the farmers’ decision to end their lives, ranging from crop losses, debts and depression.

Bushigampala Biksham of Kanagal; Valisetti Nagamma, a woman farmer from Shaligouraram; Repaka Chandraiah and several others in Nalgonda district; suffered heavy debts as a result of cotton crop failure.

Kasugula Yaddaiah of Munugode ended his life as he failed to get proper yield of cotton in as many as seven acres after taking debts from local financiers, the report said.

In several cases farmers are also taking extreme decisions when their agricultural borewells fail, resulting in debts. Vemuganti Das of Husnabad ended his life after he was exhausted with spending huge amounts to repair his bore-motor. Siddipet district from where CM K Chandrashekar Rao is an MLA, has as many as nine farmer suicides. 

The organisers of the study are pointing that the high rate of suicide among cotton farmers is something that government has to take cognisance of, while its pushing for extensive cutlivation of cotton. Recently, KCR urged farmers to cultivate cotton in 70 lakh acres for the farmers’ betterment and prosperity. 

Kondal Reddy, Secretary of RSV, speaking to TNM said, “There may have been more deaths among cotton farmers than what is recorded. It is high time the government reconsiders its decision to encourage cotton cultivation enmasse; it would further push the farmers into troubles."

RSV has also demanded that the government should help farmers' families and should conduct a thorough research on farmer suicides in the state. Kondal Reddy said, "Government Order 194, which guarantees instant compensation to the victim’s family, is not being implemented. While farmers who own land are being compensated under Rythu Bhima (Farmer Insurance) scheme, tenant farmers are not getting any help."

There are more than 15 lakh tenant farmers in the state who are unable to get any sort of assistance from the government.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, Telangana stood third in country in farmer suicide for the year of 2018. According to RSV, from the day separate state of Telangana was formed, until now, there are 4600 farmer suicides in the state, in which the state has only identified around 1300. The State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB) has not yet released its data pertaining to deaths of farmers in the state.