Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh: extend aid to the bereaved families of farmers, HRF, RSV appeal to State government

HRF and RSV functionaries speaking with family members of Balijepalli Sarvesh Babu, a farmer of Rentapalla village in Sattenapalli mandal in Palnadu district.

HRF and RSV functionaries speaking with family members of Balijepalli Sarvesh Babu, a farmer of Rentapalla village in Sattenapalli mandal in Palnadu district. | Photo Credit: Arrangement

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) and Rythu Swarajya Vedkia (RSV) appealed to the government to come to the aid of families of farmers who have allegedly committed suicide.

Speaking to the media here on Monday, the members of HRF and RSV said that the government must without further delay implement the G.O. 43 that provides for a financial package of ₹7 lakh to the family members of farmers who have taken their own lives.

From May 14 to 15, a seven-member HRF and RSV team visited families of 22 farmers who had committed suicide over the last three years.

“The purpose of our visit was to determine the reasons for the suicides and government’s response to them. We spoke with family members, their relatives and friends in the village and elicited facts. The families we visited are living in 19 villages spread over six divisions (Guntur, Sattenapalli, Ongole, Kanigiri, Markapuram and Chirala) in the districts of Guntur, Palnadu, Prakasam and Bapatla. None of these families have received assistance as envisaged under G.O 43. All these families are in abject poverty and are barely able to get by. Moreover, they are constantly under pressure to repay loans,” said V.S. Krishna of HRF.

According to the HRF and RSV fact-finding team members, all the farmers who committed suicide belong to the small and marginal category. Most of them were tenant farmers in principally rain-fed areas, and were driven to desperation because they had run up accumulated debts of several lakh due to successive failure of crops, principally of cotton and mirchi.

Since formal credit had all but dried up over the years, their borrowings were from the informal sector of moneylenders, at high interest rates. The farmers also lacked access to reliable and reasonably priced inputs and a remunerative price for their output. Successive governments have failed in their obligations on all these fronts thereby rendering farmers helpless, they said.

Three of the farmers who committed suicide were women.

“Based on our fact-finding, we are of the opinion that the families of the 22 farmers we visited are eligible for the financial assistance under G.O 43 and one family, that of Mannam Srinivasa Rao of Kornepadu village in Vatticherukuru mandal of Guntur district, must be assisted as per G.O 62 since he died before June 1, 2019, from when G.O 43 is operative,” said Mr. Krishna.

As per their findings, the three-member divisional verification committee headed by the RDO has not visited even a single of these families after the suicides were reported in the media.

In most cases, even the mandal-level MRO-headed three-member committee had not visited the families to gather facts.

Over a period of nine months in 2019, three farmers, including a woman farmer, of Kornepadu village in Vatticehrukuru mandal of Guntur district had reportedly committed suicide because of farm-related distress.

“We demand that the government implement G.O 43 in letter and spirit. The proof of tenancy can also be easily established if the three-member committees visited the villages. What is of extreme disquiet is that not a single of these 22 farmers were issued the Crop Cultivator Rights Card (CCRC),” the members pointed out.

HRF and RSV also called upon the government to amend G.O. 43 and insert a provision of one-time loan settlement in the financial package so as to mitigate the debt burden of the families.


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Printable version | Jun 15, 2022 5:54:19 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/andhra-pradesh-extend-aid-to-the-bereaved-families-of-farmers-hrf-rsv-appeal-to-state-government/article65419465.ece