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Posted at: Mar 6, 2017, 12:59 AM; last updated: Mar 6, 2017, 12:59 AM (IST)

80% of farm suicides by cotton growers: Study

Rural debt doubles to Rs 80,000 crore in 7 years | Most deaths reported in Bathinda, Mansa, Muktsar
80% of farm suicides by cotton growers: Study
Farmers faced crop failures because of whitefly attack or got poor remuneration in the domestic and international markets. file photo

Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5

With the rural indebtedness in Punjab’s predominant agrarian economy touching Rs 80,000 crore, each rural household in the state is under a debt of an average Rs8 lakh. Or simply put, 89 per cent of the 10.53 lakh households in Punjab are under debt.

This also shows how rural indebtedness in the state has more than doubled over the years. It was around Rs35,000 crore in 2009-10.

These are some of the grim findings of a survey conducted by the state’s three premier universities — Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana; Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar; and, Punjabi University, Patiala — to study the incidence of farmer suicides between April 2010 and March 2013, across Punjab.

The study, conducted after a door-to-door survey of each farmer household across 12,500 villages of the state, is being conducted on behalf of the Punjab Government. The aim is to identify the affected families and provide some monetary relief to them. The final report is expected to be presented by mid of this month.

Though Dr Sukhpal Singh, 9declined to comment on the exact figures of farmer suicides during the period under study, he said over 80 per cent of those who committed suicide were cotton growers.

Over the years, the cotton crop has failed to give the desired results. The growers faced crop failures because of whitefly attack or got poor remuneration in both domestic and international market.

Most suicide cases have been reported in Bathinda, Mansa, Muktsar, Faridkot, Sangrur, Barnala and Ferozepur districts. “The incidence of suicide in these districts and the reasons for suicides are almost similar in the present study as during the previous studies,” he said.

“At least 79 per cent of these suicide victims owned less than 5 acres of land and of all farmer suicides that have taken place across the state between 2010-13, 74 per cent of the suicides were related to farm debt. The incidence of suicide among other farmers, those growing wheat and paddy as cash crops too have been found. The final report will be submitted by March 15,” Sukhpal Singh told The Tribune.

In 2010, the state got done a survey of farmer suicides between 2000-10. This survey had recorded 6,926 suicides (3,954 by farmers and 2,972 by landless labourers). Of these, 74 per cent farmer and 58.6 per cent labourer suicides were due to debt. Thus, the families of 4,688 victims were given monetary relief at the rate of Rs2 lakh per family.


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