`Ensure support price for farm produce'

BELLARY Nov. 13. S.R. Hegde, Director of the Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS), said today that economic stability alone would prevent farmers from committing suicide.

Participating in a workshop on preventing farmers from committing suicide, organised here jointly by the Department of Agriculture, VIMS, and the zilla panchayat, he said the Government should ensure support price for farm produce. It was essential because of fluctuations in prices of farm produce in the market.

Accumulation of debts, mainly due to non-repayment of loans in the wake of promises and support by leaders and farmers' organisations, was one of the reasons for suicide. Farmers should repay loans promptly, Dr. Hedge said.

He said women could play a pivotal role in preventing farmers from taking the extreme step.

They could persuade them to give up habits such as drinking and gambling. The media should not sensationalise suicide cases, he added.

Inaugurating the workshop, S.N. Jayaram, Deputy Commissioner, urged cooperative societies, the media, and others organisations to create awareness among farmers against committing suicide.

The State Government had announced a special package to help farmers overcome their problems. Bellary district would get Rs. 54 crore as part of the package, he added.

S.P. Tavergi, Additional Superintendent of Police, said 422 farmers had committed suicide in the State. Workshops and seminars to educate farmers should be held in villages, he added.

Chandrashekar, Joint Director of Agriculture, proposed a vote of thanks.