Climate change, severe water crisis and huge crop losses coupled with mounting debts have forced hundreds of farmers in Karnataka to kill themselves over the past one year. According to reports, as many as 821 farmers committed suicide between 1 April last year and 2 March 2 this year.
Meanwhile the agriculture department has accepted only 521 of these deaths as due to farm distress and rejected 198 as they seem to have other causes. The department has also not taken a decision on another 102 suicides for want of verification from the Forensic Science Labortory (FSL) in Hyderabad on the cause of death, the Deccan Chronicle reported.
The loss of both their kharif and rabi crops following four successive years of drought has amassed the debts of farmers. Officials of the agriculture department say they are baffled by the number committing suicide. The govt also said that the numbers are growing even as as the government has reached out to them with concessions and schemes to help them in their hour of need.
The Chief Minister has already instructed banks not to force farmers to repay their dues and turn their short and medium term crop loans into long term loans with waiver of interest, but more suicides were reported during April and October last year and January and February, this yearSate government official
“We are keeping our fingers crossed that more will not end their lives as there are still another three months to go for the monsoon. The government is expected to announce some more sops in the coming budget to rekindle hope among the state's farmers,” the officers added.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Karnataka Agricultural Prices Commission, T N Prakash Kammardi, demanded that the government must come out with an immediate drought-proof agriculture policy to help farmers.