Mandya records two farmer suicides in a week

Attitude of sugar factories and dip in crop prices blamed

Mandya records two farmer suicides in a week

The delay by sugar factories to pay dues to farmers and the sudden dip in prices of various crops has resulted in the suicide of two farmers in Mandya district, within a span of one week.

Farmers in the district have been holding protest demonstrations to force sugar factories to pay the arrears and have recently urged the State government to come to the aid of the farmers following the sudden decline in silk prices. Meanwhile, two suicides have shocked the farming community.

On June 19, C Rajendra, a 66-year-old farmer had hung himself in Chinnenahalli of Srirangapatna taluk. Six days later, on Thursday, another farmer, Ningegowda (60), depressed by the delay in payment, immolated himself inside his sugarcane field.

Rajendra, in a letter written to the State government, prior to his suicide has blamed the dip in prices of crops for his suicide. “I have currently cultivated sugarcane, plantain and some vegetables on my field. The dip in prices of crops has resulted in severe loss. Depressed by these developments, I am committing suicide,” he has written.

He has also noted that farmers are ‘tired’ of making trips to factories, seeking the payment and none of the protests brought any respite to the crisis.

While Rajendra owned about 1.5 acres of agricultural land, the land owned by Ningegowda was a modest 18 guntas. Farmer representatives feel that mostly small farmers are at risk in the current crisis.

Sugarcane dues

In Mandya district, five sugar factories have to pay a total of Rs 106 crore to farmers. Besides, the factories have to pay Rs 20 crore, after an additional incentive of Rs 100 was announced for farmers in 2013-14.

In the district, sericulture is practiced on 11,000 hectares. The price of silk, which had hovered around Rs 300-450 per kg, has now dipped to Rs 100-150 per kg, worsening the woes of the farmers.

According to H M Gurusiddaih, a farmer from Hulivana village, agriculture has of late become a burden.

“Sugarcane planted last year is now ready for harvest. However, sugar factories are showing no signs of crushing it. On the other hand, they are yet to pay the dues. The government should come to the aid of farmers,” he said.

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