ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Farmers Suicide Missing Issues

E Revathi G PARTHASARATHY and Shameem's study EPW, March 26), 'Suicides of 'Cotton Fanners in Andhra Pradesh; An Exploratory Study', is indeed an exploratory study which focused on several interrelated causes for suicide deaths like adverse rainfall, inconsistent prices, rise i n cost of cotton cuItivation, had position of co-operative credit agencies and commericial banks.growing powerof the moneylender, trader, landlord combine and growth of lease holding in cotton cultivation (p 721) However, there arc some missing issues in the analysis. The first is the non- inclusion of irrigation as a major factor lor the tragedy in the district. On the surface of the problem it may not appear as an explicit cause but it is one of the implicit causes for the soaring debts of the fanners. Ft is very much evident that in the process of creating private sources of irrigation most of the farmers have invested heavily on digging and deepening of wells. A study of 50 deceased farmers' in Warangal district shows that well is the largest source of irrigation for about three-fourths of the fanners. Only about one-third of the wells were dug under the subsidy schemes of the government. In the rest of the cases farmers them-selves have borne the expenses for digging of wells. Besides this the depletion or groundwater in the recent years has necessitated deepening of wells and laying of in-well bores, the investment for which averaged anywhere between Rs 50.000loRs1,00,000. Moreover, the periodical deepening of wells also required amounts in the range of Rs 10.000 to Rs I 5.000. In spite of these efforts only 25 percent of the wells could yield sufficient water. All this is to substantiate the increasing expenditure incurred by the farmerstowards creation of private irrigation, The same paper also probed into the purpose of burrowing by the farmers which clearly showed thai it is mostly for creation of agricultural infrastructure like sinking and deepening of wells, laying in-well bores. purchase of bullocks and other farm equipment. Fifty per cent of the cases have reported obtaining loans for improvement of wells and about 20 percent farmers incurred debts for digging wells in the last three to four years, These results could be extrapolated to the universe of deceased fanners, 104 up to March 31, I998 Table 5 (p 722) in the study shows that irrigated area under cotton in Warangal district was the highest in the mid-1980s Area under cation and percentage of area

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