Farmer’s suicide : A wake-up call to government

Primepost News Desk

We posted an article on the refugee crisis facing Europe on September 8 under the title “The picture that rattled the world” with a picture of a three-year-old Syrian boy lying dead on a Turkish beach. The photo splashed across the globe has captured the Syrian turmoil and world apathy towards one of the worst man-made crises. Thanks to social and digital media, the boy’s lifeless body has galvanized the world in general and Europe in particular to respond to a human tragedy of unimaginable proportions at its doorstep.

Can we expect similar reaction from our central and state governments when a hapless farmer hanged himself from a pole in a central area of Hyderabad on Wednesday and his limp body went viral?

The 50-year-old farmer, Limbayya of Nizamabad in Telangana, had brought the distress of debt-ridden farmers not only in the state but all over the country to the people and government notice by hanging himself in public. It was a stark reminder of farmers’ plight in rural areas. Lack of rains, debts, poverty and little official help are adding to the woes of small and marginal farmers not just in Telangana but in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka states.

According to a report in the Times of India, 1,500 farmers had ended their lives in the two Telugu states in 12 months. If we take into account farm crisis-related deaths in all the affected states, the toll runs into thousands. Then, the logical question is why little attention is being paid to the deepening agricultural crisis in food bowls of India?

It is but natural to blame the truant monsoon for all our woes, from water problems in urban areas to dried-up fields and parched lands in rural areas. Shifting blame, that too on an unpredictable natural and seasonal occurrence, is easy. But what’s conveniently glossed over are other factors such as high input costs, low returns, unbearable debt burden, middlemen, the menace of local money-lenders, floods, cyclonic storms and the like that contribute to the misery of farmers.

The government talks of high economic growth that is better than China. The increasing incidence of farmers’ suicides, whether it is in Telangana State or elsewhere, is an ominous pointer to an impending agriculture crisis. Without adequate food for the burgeoning population, growth talk is meaningless. It’s time states and centre devise a mechanism to tackle the growing crisis in the farming community.

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