AP govt admits to 20 farmer suicides; four more die

In a late night press release on Friday, the chief minister’s office said the actual reasons for the suicides were yet to be ascertained. The press release denied that 70 farmers had died as claimed by the major Opposition Telugu Desam Party.

Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy has directed collectors to give a compensation of Rs 1.5 lakh each to the families of those who had ended their lives. He asked the collectors to immediately submit a report on the farmers’ death.

“The TDP has been brazenly spreading lies that 70 farmers have ended their lives in the last 40 days because of drought.

Actually, it has not been established yet whether the suicides were because of drought or other reasons,” the release said.

The largest number of “suicides” was in Anantapur, followed by four in Adilabad, three in Warangal and two in Medak.

Meanwhile, four more suicides were reported on Friday. All the four farmers, aged less than 35 years, consumed pesticide. They were from Adilabad, Anantapur, Karimnagar and Medak.

While Jangolla Bhojanna of Adilabad resorted to suicide after six borewells he drilled failed, Srinu of Anantapur gave up hope after he lost Rs 30,000 worth of Bengal gram crop due to lack of rains.

Saddal Yella Ram of Karimnagar grew despondent after his daughter lost her eyesight in an accident. Then the crop on his six acres also dried up. He consumed pesticide and was rushed to hospital but could not be saved.

Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh government on Friday constituted a group of ministers to monitor the drought situation in the state.

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