M'rashtra gets Notice on Farmers’ Suicides
Mumbai, Oct 3, 2012, DHNS:
565 cultivators took their lives since January 2012
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has slapped a notice on the Maharashtra government seeking explanation on farmers committing suicide in Vidarbha region “as it is tantamount to the violation of human rights”.
Last month, there were reports that seven farmers took their lives in a span of three days due to the worsening agrarian crisis in the region.
Speaking to Deccan Herald from Nagpur on phone, Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) leader Kishore Tiwari said: “The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the state chief secretary to file a report within six weeks not just on the death of seven farmers but has also asked for a detailed analysis of the agrarian and socio-economic problems that are forcing farmers in the region to take their own lives.”
Tiwari said the human rights commission has also taken cognisance of the petition moved by the VJAS.
The petition states that the entire cotton belt of Vidarbha has become a ribbon of death for farmers due to the state government’s lop-sided policies. The data compiled by VJAS indicates that from January, around 565 farmers have committed suicide to escape the dire economic straits arising out of agrarian policies.
According to Tiwari, one of the key issues haunting the farmers in the region is the use of genetically modified (BT) cotton seeds.
“While they (seed manufacturers) may be painting a rosy picture of Vidarbha cotton cultivation, the seven farmers who killed themselves last week in a span of 72 hours did so because BT cotton is vulnerable to a particular pest attack and despite heavy pesticide spraying, damage to the crop could not be stopped.
“And this is not all...the pesticide spraying has resulted in rampant poisoning. Reports from Yavatmal hint that the administration in Yavatmal admitted that at least 28 farm labourers involved in pesticide spraying succumbed to ‘food poisoning’ and 150 others were admitted in various government hospitals in the last 30 days,” Tiwari said.