Another count of Farmer Suicides

A little while ago, we mentioned a census commissioned by the Punjab government and being conducted by the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, documenting the rates of farmer suicides in Punjab.

punjab_farmer.jpgAn interesting development is an independent study conducted by a group called the “Movement Against State Repression,” a Chandigarh based non-profit organization which seems to be working with patwaris in Sangrur.

Inderjit Singh Jaijee, convenor of the Movement Against State Repression (MASR), has said patwaris in Sangrur district have collected information with regard to the cases of suicide by farmers. [link]

This is a positive development because the findings of the PAU can now be measured against the findings of MASR, at least in Sangrur, to ensure the truth of the figures. This is especially important because PAU is known to heavily push farmers to use pesticides which are harmful to the land, the farmers, and one factor of the recent agricultural decline of Punjab.

Inderjeet Singh Jaijee has been trying to get the attention of the state government to draw attention to the suicides in Sangrur.

Jaijee said he had written to the Speaker and members of Parliament to draw their attention towards this problem. A list of 1,508 suicide cases of Moonak subdivision with 1,408 gram panchayat affidavits are enclosed. This list covers all 91 villages comprising Moonak subdivision and is for the period from 1988 till date, Jaijee had written in the letter to the Speaker. He said he had submitted the details of all cases in Moonak belt of Sangrur district.[link]

Jaijee points out the role that the government itself has played in perpetuating the suicides.

Punjab farmers are not getting adequate help from the Union government because state governments had been underplaying the crisis, he said. Jaijee said instead of hiding the facts regarding suicide by farmers, the state government should highlight this issue. Otherwise, Punjab farmers would continue to be denied adequate help by the Union government… He said that a major part of the blame for the suicides lay on the inequitable cost/price structure established by the Centre.[link]

MASR seems to be doing good work for indebted farmers. They have created a booklet explaining legal protections available to indebted persons, translated into both Punjabi and Hindi. The booklet is distributed through gurdwaras and panchayats and in its third printing. [link]

They also provide humanitarian assistance to widows and children of farmers who have committed suicide through the Baba Nanak Education Society.

The objective of Rescue & Revival is to keep the widows and children together in their own village and home environment and save them from the trauma of being placed in orphanages. We enable the children to study up to 10+2 and are monitoring their education. In some cases we send the children for vocational training.

Charitable persons have come forward to provide each family with Rs 1,100 per month (Rs 500 for childrens education, Rs 500 for family sustenance and Rs 100 for administrative needs.) Rescue & Revival project was initiated by the late Mrs Daljit Jaijee, IAS, who adopted the first two families. We send out updates to the donors to tell them how their adopted families are doing and they are welcome to visit the families at any time.

Workers from the Rescue and Revival Mission have identified more than 300 families that are in need of bare minimum subsistence and school fees for children. In addition to accepting donations for these families, the Rescue and Revival Mission encourages donors and families to be in direct contact through letters or personal visits if possible. [link]

bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark

2 Responses to “Another count of Farmer Suicides”

  1. The people who are ignorant behave sometimes in such a way that is awful or shameful. But the uneducated people never consider their own behavior and acts shameful rather they do not accept that.

  2. Adrianne says:

    Good post, well put together. Thanks. I will be back soon to check out for updates. Cheers