New Delhi, March 20: Asking states to abrogate a law
that provides for arrest of defaulting farmers, a
parliamentary committee on Tuesday said the suicide of 11,782
farmers during last five years is attributable to distress
sale of their produce and continuous crop failures.
"The committee is shocked to learn that in some states
like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, there is a law to arrest farmers
who default in repayment of loans. Moreover, they are not only
kept in jail but the expenditure incurred on their food,
transport and others things in jail is also said be to
recovered from them", the report tabled in Parliament said.
The standing committee on agriculture, headed by Ram
Gopal Yadav, observed that the Agriculture Minister in a
letter to the chief ministers of Bihar, Jharkhand, Kerala,
Orissa, Punjab and up in April 2006 had taken up the matter of
review of state laws to remove the provision for arrest and
detention of farmers.
"The last letter (to states) for amending the relevant
state laws was issued on August 12, 2005, and it seems that
the government has no will to act but is only performing the
duty of a postman in a way, that based on the recommendations
of the committee, a letter is written to the states to do the
needful", it said.
Stating that the farmers have not got their full dues,
the committee said they have to sell their produce at very low
rates and are not able to repay their debts due to drought and
continuous crop failures.
"Under the circumstances, the only escape route for them
is to commit suicide. Thus, in the last five years, as per the
records of department of agriculture and cooperation, about
11,782 farmers have ended their lives out of frustration and
humiliation", the report added.