A majority of the 8,000-odd farm suicides reported since the formation of Telangana in June 2014 were that of tenant farmers, the reason being mounting debt. Sharing this statistics, founder-chairman of the Farmers’ First Foundation, G. Chakradhar Goud says, “They borrow for cultivation and if the crop fails, they are under tremendous stress of loss on one side and the pressure to clear the debt on the other. This gives birth to suicidal tendencies.”
Sample this — an agricultural family in Guravannapet village of Siddipet district lost two of its breadwinners in a space of three years, and was left with a debt of ₹8 lakh. On October 27, 2011, Chakkala Kanakaiah hung himself in the same fields that he had leased out, following crop loss. He left behind his wife and two children and a debt of ₹4 lakh. Then, on September 16, 2014, his father, Ch. Uppalaiah died after consuming poison as all the four bore-wells he had dug on 1.8 acres failed. He also left behind ₹4 lakh debt.
Learning about the incident, the Farmers’ First Foundation came forward and extended assistance of ₹2 lakh to the family and got Kanakaiah’s sibling, Ch. Raju, an autorickshaw to earn a livelihood. Raju has been paying about ₹9,400 monthly instalment for the vehicle.
The foundation has, so far, extended financial help to nearly 300 bereaved families of farmers and about 100 tenant farmers to diversify as well as perform the wedding of their daughters, to the tune of ₹3.5 crore. “We want to help as many as 100 farmer families each with ₹1 lakh assistance in Siddipet on September 26, which coincides with Bathukamma festival, and bring the issue of farm distress into the spotlight. Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has accepted our invitation to participate in the event,” said Mr.Goud, who is a native of Siddipet district and settled in Hyderabad.