HRF seeks immediate financial aid for families of East, West Godavari farmers who died by suicide

The teams called upon the state government to stop underplaying the extent of the crisis and to initiate concrete measures to alleviate the situation

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  27 March 2022 4:41 AM GMT
HRF seeks immediate financial aid for families of East, West Godavari farmers who died by suicide

Visakhapatnam: The Human Rights Forum (HRF) and Rythu Swarajya Vedika (RSV) are demanding that the AP government initiate steps to immediately implement GO 43 which provides financial and rehabilitation packages to the families of farmers who died by suicide.

The HRF and RSV teams visited 18 families of farmers who died by suicide in four revenue divisions of West Godavari and East Godavari districts.

The teams observed that the families of the deceased farmers are eligible for financial assistance of Rs. 7 lakh as per the government order. In all these cases, it can clearly be established that there was a correlation between farm-related operations and economic distress eventually leading to suicide. However, they have not received any assistance from the government so far, the teams said. "We were shocked to learn that the RDO-headed three-member verification and certification committee had not visited even one of these 18 villages as is mandated under GO 43. In many of these cases, even the mandal-level committee, with MRO as chairman, has not gone to the villages and spoken with family members. These families have literally been abandoned by the government," said the members of HRF and RSV.

All the 18 who died were tenant farmers who ended their lives because of the appalling state of institutional credit leading to excessive reliance on private money lenders resulting in high indebtedness. These farmers also lacked access to reliable and reasonably priced inputs and a remunerative price for their output.

The HRF and RSV said that successive governments have failed to help the farmers. They ended their lives after being driven to utter despair being unable to repay these loans which they had taken at high interest rates from private lenders. All these deaths from June 2019 onwards fall within the purview of GO 43, added the HRF and RSV team. They further said that it can be ascertained with certainty that the farmers took their own lives because of losses in farm-related operations leading to an ever-spiralling cycle of indebtedness and consequently intense distress. "What is of extreme disquiet is that not a single of these 18 farmers were issued the crop cultivator rights card (CCRC). In each of these cases, proof of tenancy could have been easily established had the administration been serious at all," said the team.


They pointed out that there are many farmers facing extreme despair. "In fact, the total number of suicides of farmers in the Godavari districts is a staggering 87 since June 2019 (46 in East Godavari and 41 in West Godavari). Only seven families have been extended ex-gratia in East Godavari and 20 in West Godavari. Administrative negligence on this scale defeats the very purpose of GO 43 and in a sense multiplies their tragedy," they added.

The teams called upon the state government to stop underplaying the extent of the crisis and to initiate concrete measures to alleviate the situation. "As a first step, it must ensure that all cases of reported farmers' suicides are enquired into at the earliest and justice done to the families," expressed that team.

HRF and RSV also urged the government to amend GO 43 and insert a provision for a one-time loan settlement in the financial package so as to mitigate the debt burden of the families. This will help in ensuring that they are not harassed by those they have borrowed money from, they added.

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