Andhra Pradesh

Agrarian crisis deepens in Anantapur

Bleak scenario:Indebtedness continues to be the major cause of suicide of farmers in Anantapur district. —File Photo: R.V.S. Prasad

Bleak scenario:Indebtedness continues to be the major cause of suicide of farmers in Anantapur district. —File Photo: R.V.S. Prasad  

As many as 22 distressed farmers have committed suicide in the last three months

: Scorching summer has just begun but the spectre of suicides continue to haunt the bone-dry district of Anantapur with as many as 22 farmers taking their lives during the last three months, unable to bear the failure of borewells and mounting debts.

Gopal (30) of Sirigedoddi village of the Gummagatta mandal took pride in being a successful farmer a few years ago. He and his three brothers cultivated the four acres land after they sank a borewell that yielded sufficient water for the groundnut crop they raised.

Within three years, the borewell went dry and Gopal decided to dig two more. Both failed and with no water his groundnut crop withered away while his debt burden shot up to Rs 2 lakh even as his family – wife, a daughter and a son – had to often go without food besides contending with insulting barbs from local moneylenders.

His wife, Rajamma, threatened to leave him and go to her parents along with his children if he failed to come out of the financial crisis. This proved to be the proverbial last nail in the coffin and Gopal committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree in the hillocks close to the village on February 16.

Similar is the case of Krishna of Nalla Dasaripalli village of Guntakal mandal who committed suicide in the bus station at Guntakal, on February 25.

He left a suicide note detailing his problems due to the drought and the debt taken by him, besides the pressure from his family to earn enough money to educate his three children.

He even appealed to the local MLA to help him educate his children.

However, neither the local MLA nor the government which promises a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh, have been forthcoming. There are many such instances in the district where among others, increasing debts and family pressures pushed young farmers to commit suicide.

“Increasingly young men who take to agriculture are not finding brides and many of those who do find suffer from not being able to reach the expectations of a better life that their spouses expect from them. Consequently, many of them are taking extreme steps unable to bear the ignominy of being looked down upon. All this originates from the drought which had paralysed the economy of each and every farmer family in the district,” says social activist and lawyer, Ram Kumar.

In fact, a large number of farmers who have committed suicides last year were in the age group of 20 – 35 years, suggesting great social turmoil among the families of the farmers of the district who have experienced seven consecutive drought years.

Indebtedness continues to be the major cause of suicides of farmers and weavers. Of the 22 farmers, 13 took their lives owing to indebtedness, in January alone, five followed by four each in February and March.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 8:49:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/agrarian-crisis-deepens-in-anantapur/article8430834.ece

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