Debating India
Home page > Public directory > Social and Economical Issues > Fishing & Agriculture > "Assam’s farmers will be forced to commit suicide"


"Assam’s farmers will be forced to commit suicide"

Tuesday 29 August 2006

Special Correspondent

Measures to tackle drought inadequate, says Kisan Sabha

Guwahati: The Assam State Kisan Sabha (ASKS) on Monday expressed apprehension that the Assam Government’s failure to deal with the prevailing drought situation in the State would push farmers to commit suicide, as they did in Andhra Pradesh.

The peasants’ body also warned that if the Government failed to undertake measures to ensure food and jobs to more than ten lakh peasant families affected by the prevailing drought then famine would grip the entire State. The situation is worse for more than 12 lakh agriculture workers who are now passing days without work and food.

ASKS secretary Khemraj Chetri and its president Nizamuddin Khan told reporters that they would launch a Statewide peasants’ movement in the form of road blockades and dharnas on September 5 to protest the failure of the State Government to deal with the situation. They demanded that affected farmers and landless agriculture workers be paid compensation proportionate to their losses.

"If the State Government fails to take measures on a war footing to ensure food and jobs to the affected families then there is every possibility that the State would face an Andhra-like situation and farmers in Assam would also be compelled to commit suicide," they cautioned.

Mr. Chetri said that of the 24 lakh kharif crop land, irrigation facilities cover only 2 lakh hectares. The farmers of the 22 lakh kharif crop land are totally dependent on rain for growing paddy and in view of the drought situation no paddy could be sown on 50 per cent of this land while crops grown on the remaining 50 per cent are also on the verge of being completely damaged by severe and unprecedented drought, he added.

They alleged that even among the 2 lakh hectares of irrigated land, a vast area of crop land has gone dry as irrigation facilities such as lift irrigation pumps, shallow tube wells, deep tube wells have been lying defunct for years together while corrupt officials and contractors have siphoned off the money allocated for these irrigation systems.

Mr. Chetri and Mr. Khan alleged that the State Government has completely failed to comprehend the situation and merely waiving the land tax to farmers and distributing a meagre 5 litres of diesel to only a section of affected farmers, was inadequate. They pointed out that the Assam Government has so far released only Rs. 1.64 crore for farmers in 22 districts while in neighbouring West Bengal the Left Front Government has already released Rs. 47 crore in six drought hit districts.

See online : The Hindu

SPIP | template | | Site Map | Follow-up of the site's activity RSS 2.0