HC notice to State, Centre on farmers' suicides

HC notice to State, Centre on farmers' suicides

The High Court on Tuesday ordered notices to the State and Union governments in connection with a petition seeking directions to prevent farmers’ suicides.

The court was hearing a petition filed by H T Huchappa, a farmer from Arakalgud in Hassan district, who had sought directions to announce minimum support price to all crops and set up of Agriculture Price Commission.

The petition, stating that Karnataka ranked third in the country in farmers’ suicides, submitted that the latter were not getting proper price for their crops. He submitted that agriculture in Karnataka was heavily dependent on the south west monsoon since its extent of arid land was second only to Rajasthan. “Only 26.5 per cent of the sown area (30,900 km sq) is irrigated and the rest depends on monsoon.”

Pointing out that the State government had allocated Rs 5,789.96 crore for agriculture in its budget for  2011-2012, the petitioner said farmers in the remaining areas were left to the mercy of fate.

Senior counsel Prof Ravi Varma Kumar, who appeared on behalf of the petitioners, said that of the total 2,70,940 farmers who committed suicide across the country between 1995-2011, as many as 37,153 farmers belonged to Karnataka. The soaring cost of fertilisers too was a reason for suicides, he said.