Special Correspondent

TDP regime did not keep record to conceal suicide deaths: Minister

Minister says TDP government did not conduct post-mortem on ryots' bodies Only 1,400 of 4,000 families can be given relief, he says Package to prevent suicide deaths on the anvil

HYDERABAD: The State Government has expressed helplessness in extending the relief package of Rs. 1.5 lakhs, including Rs. 50,000 from the PM's special fund, to families of farmers who committed suicide during the Telugu Desam regime owing to lack of data.

Agriculture Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy held the previous TDP government responsible for not building up a data base in order to conceal the deaths. "There should be some evidence to provide relief. But, the TDP government did not take up post-mortem examination on bodies nor issued First Information Reports," he bemoaned.

This had led to a situation where the Congress Government could not give the package to more than 1,400 families although 4,000 farmers had committed suicide in the previous regime.

Worse still, the Government could not even provide further assistance to 90-odd families in Anantapur who were given Rs. 22,222 each by the Congress during AICC president, Sonia Gandhi's visit.

There were no official records of their deaths.

Drop in suicide figures

The Minister said the TDP Government initially gave Rs. 1 lakh each to the families but withdrew the benefit as it felt that the package promoted suicidal tendencies in farmers.

The Congress Government wanted to distribute Rs. 1.5 lakh each but was unable to do so.

He also said the suicides by farmers had drastically come down as a result of the efforts put in by Congress Government. They were just one or two now as against 40 to 50 a week during TDP rule.

The Centre was working out a package to prevent even these one or two deaths.

It would be finalised in a couple of months.