Nation Current Affairs 01 Dec 2018 Suicide victims&rsqu ...

Suicide victims’ kin join Chalo Dilli farmers march

Published Dec 1, 2018, 12:51 am IST
Updated Dec 1, 2018, 12:51 am IST
Shobha with the photograph of her late husband.
 Shobha with the photograph of her late husband.

Hyderabad: Agrarian distress continues unabated despite the grand loan waivers announced from time to time by state governments. When their crop failed and debts kept mounting, M. Swapna’s 42-year-old father M. Ramachandram committed suicide in February 2014. Swapna has five siblings to support and started working as a farm labourer while her mother started selling milk. Swapna told this newspaper that she gets just Rs 200 per day while men are paid Rs 300 for doing the same work.

Raju, who was a small-scale farmer in Sirpur in Warangal district, took land on rent and started farming. When the crop failed, he had nothing to fall back on. He borrowed money at 7-10 per cent interest rate per month and when he could not repay it he took his own life in 2015. 

His wife Shobha, Swapna and others, whose male family members have committed suicide because of the agrarian crisis, hung pictures of their menfolk around their necks and are participating in the Chalo Dilli Farmers March that started in the capital on Thursday.

Farmers from the southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra started their journey to Delhi from Nizamuddin railway station.

In the two-day Kisan Mukti March led by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), the farmers marched to Ramlila Grounds on Thursday and to the Parliament on Friday. They are demanding a farm loan waiver and a guaranteed price for farm produce. This will be the fourth farmers’ protest in Delhi in the last one-and-a-half years.

The farmers want a special Parliament session to discuss agrarian crisis and pass two Bills the Farmers’ Freedom from Indebtedness Bill, 2018 and the Farmers’ Right to Guaranteed Remunerative Minimum Support Prices for Agricultural Commodities Bill, 2018. This they believe will ensure they are free from debt and get remunerative prices for their agricultural produce.

Said 25-year-old M. Kalyani, a woman farm labourer from Waran-gal district, whose father committed suicide: “I have been working on farms since the last four years. We used to get paid Rs 100 or Rs 120 per day; now we are paid Rs 150 to Rs 200. We start work at 10 am and work till 5 pm to 6 pm but we are paid so little that it’s not enough to run a family. Even though we do all the difficult work, men are paid more even though we have asked for more pay many a time.” 

She says the level of difficulty of the work may vary a little bit from men “but we also work hard the whole day so we also deserve equal pay for equal work. We are here in Delhi to participate in the Kisan March to demand equal rights for equal work”. 

Kiran Kumar Vissa, State Committee member, Rythu Swarj Vedika and National Working member of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) said that more than 60,000 farmers across the country 1,000 from Telangana state and Andhra Pradesh have come to Delhi to participate in the two-day Kisan Mukthi March.

“Our main demand is that every farmer should have access to institutional credit whether or not they have ownership of the land,” Mr Vissa said.

“Many farmers do not have title to the land but they are the ones who are actually doing the cultivation like tenant farmers, adivasi farmers, women farmers etc. We are also demanding a Debt Relief Commission which will ensure that if farmers lose their crops due to natural disasters they get relief from debt,” he said.

Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad


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