“Government should formulate suitable relief measures”

Distress in agriculture, compounded by the lack of water to save standing crops, resulted in the suicide of some farmers in Cauvery Delta districts, according to a study.

The South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (SICCFM), which studied the circumstances in which seven farmers died, said four of them committed suicide, and distress in agriculture was the major reason behind the suicides.

S. Kannayan, coordinator of the SICCFM and Jayaram Venkatesan, an independent researcher, who visited the families of all the seven farmers, said the farmers had committed suicide as they had come to the conclusion that “they had run out all options and lost hope to lead a life with dignity.”

They said two farmers had died following a heart attack and had not committed suicide as claimed by the media. “But their families said they were in a state of distress due to non availability of water for the standing crop. Another farmer died in an accident,” the report prepared by the SICCFM stated.

The SICCFM team found there was heavy demand for portable oil engines; hiring an engine and fuel would cost Rs. 200 per hour.

“Two farmers — Raajangam and Abdul Rahim — who committed suicide were upset that they could not afford the cost,” SICCFM said.

One of the important findings of the SICCFM was that six of the farmers had borrowed money from private lenders at interest rates varying from 24 to 60 per cent per annum.

Calling upon the State Government not to be in denial mode about the deaths, SICCFM urged it to accept and understand that the farmers had taken the extreme step because of farm related issues.

“The government should formulate suitable relief and rehabilitation measures,” it said.