Rise in farmer suicides in NE -Sumir Karmakar

-The Telegraph

Guwahati: The Northeast has seen more than four-time jump in farmers' suicides from 21 in 2014 to 95 cases last year.

The region also saw 105 suicides by agricultural workers last year, mostly in Assam and Tripura, revealed the report on suicides in the farming sector of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2015.

Farmers' suicides have assumed serious proportions mostly in western and southern states.

This rise in suicides in the Northeast is a cause of worry for many in the region.

In 2014, when the bureau included the issue of farmers' suicides in its report on accidental deaths and suicides in India, only 21 cases were reported from Assam. No such case was reported in other states of the Northeast.

The number in Assam increased to 84 last year while seven cases were reported in Arunachal Pradesh, two in Meghalaya and one each in Manipur and Tripura.

Suicides of 54 agricultural workers in Assam and 48 in Tripura were reported in 2015. These comprise persons who do not own land but depend on agriculture. (See chart)
Farmer Suicide in the North East
The bureau's report, however, showed no farmer suicides in Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.

Altogether 12,602 people involved in the farming sector (comprising 8,007 farmers/cultivators and 4,595 agricultural labourers) have committed suicide in 2015, accounting for 9.4 per cent of total suicide victims (1,33,623) in the country. In 2014, 5,650 cases were reported, which was 4.3 per cent of the total suicides in the country.

Maharashtra (4,291), Karnataka (1,569), Telangana (1,400), Madhya Pradesh (1,290), Chhattisgarh (954), Andhra Pradesh (916) and Tamil Nadu (606) reported the maximum number of farmers' suicides during 2015, which accounted for 87.5 per cent of suicides in the country.

The bureau's report, however, did not list the state-wise reasons for suicides. Bankruptcy or indebtedness and farming-related issues have been cited as major causes of the suicides.

Organisations fighting for farmers' rights in Assam say low land holding and absence of proper irrigation facilities could be the main reasons for the suicides. "Farmers have no option but to depend on the monsoon for crops and they suffer heavy losses when rainfall is scanty.

The failure of the government to ensure that farmers get the right price for their crops, non-implementation of the schemes for subsidy to farmers in availing loan and other equipment are some of the problems confronting our farmers," said Dhaijjya Konwar, a leader of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti. "The underprivileged people in villages who do not have land, work in other's fields and when agriculture suffers, the workers also suffer," he said.

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The Telegraph, 19 March, 2017, https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170320/jsp/northeast/story_141559.jsp#.WM84rLideyA

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