The unkept promises and rising suicides

via www.newindpress.com published on February 15, 2007


KALPETTA: The farmers in Wayanad, who did weave their dreams around the LDF, it seems, are losing their faith in the government and its promises. The number of suicides, which came down in 2004, is steadily on the rise again.

As many as 344 persons, including 87 women, committed suicide in 2006 whereas in 2005 it was 320 and in 2004 it was 302.

According to the data available with the District Crime Records Bureau, as many as 76 farmers committed suicide due to debt in the year 2006 while 44 committed suicide due to mental illness, which also could be attributed to financial crisis. 70 committed suicide due to family problems.

The other details are: Prolonged illness – 39; death of dear ones – 5; unknown reasons – 53; other causes – 48 and personal – 4. Majority of the victims were in the age group of 29 to 59 (210) while 206 victims were married. 161 persons committed suicide by hanging while 158 persons consumed poison.

In 2004 and 2005, almost all the farmers’ organisations took to the streets demanding complete write off of farm loans.

The Karshaka Sangham, the farmers’ outfit of the CPM, was in the forefront of agitations against the then UDF Government.

V S Achuthanandan, the then opposition leader, while participating in farmers’ agitations in the district had promised to write off of all loans taken by farmers.

All these agitations helped the LDF to expand its support base in the district. In the last election, the Left front won all the three legislative seats in the district, which was the UDF citadel for many decades.

The farmers issue and the suicides figured in the Parliament and about a dozen high-level delegations of Central and State Governments scanned the district on fact-finding missions. Sharad Pawar, Union Minister for Agriculture, himself had visited the district to have a look into the matter.

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