Mandya's irrigated belt recorded high farmer suicide rates in K'taka

Mandya's irrigated belt recorded high farmer suicide rates in K'taka

Defunct projects, dry KRS, mounting debts are the reasons

The fact that Mandya tops the list in farmer suicides in the state is shocking for the district but what is even more surprising is that 60% of such suicides have been reported from taluks which are irrigated areas like Mandya, Maddur and Malavalli.

Of the six farmers who ended their lives this year, four are from Maddur taluk. In all, 57 farmers committed suicide in the last three years in Maddur taluk. Of these, 36 cases were reported from Mandya taluk and 20 from Malavalli taluk.

Farmers grow sugarcane, coconut and take up sericulture in Maddur taluk. Sericulture is much preferred due to the region’s proximity to the silk market in Ramanagaram. Maddur is the home taluk of S M Krishna who executed lift irrigation projects here during his tenure as chief minister. The taluk is irrigated by Cauvery and Shimsha rivers. Despite all these facilities, more number of farmers in the taluk have committed suicide.

‘A dry lifeline’
Raitha Sangha vice president Konasale Narasaraju said that agriculture is not possible if there is no water in the Krishanaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir. More farmers in Koppa and Athaguru hoblis have ended their lives as they are at the tail end of Visvesvaraya Canal. The farmers are not benefitting from Shimsha River after the lift irrigation projects became defunct as the pipes broke due to substandard works.

Around 36 farmers have ended their lives in Mandya taluk situated in the Cauvery basin. Moreover, closing of MySugar factory is also one of the reasons for farmers committing suicides. As the taluk administration has failed to give proper information on crop insurance and benefits of loan facilities, the farmers who had borrowed from private money lenders ended their lives, Raitha Sangha leader Haniyambadi Nagaraju said.

Around 100 farmer deaths have been reported from Mandya, Maddur and Malavalli taluks and 44 farmers from Srirangapatna, Pandavapura, K R Pet and Nagamangala taluks.

MP C S Puttaraju told DH that the situation of farmers is like fish out of water. KRS is the lifeline of Mandya district. As the dam did not get sufficient water for three years now, the farmers were trapped in debts and have taken the extreme step, he said. Moreover, the government has released 60% of water to Tamil Nadu while farmers here are ending their lives, he said.

The government provides Rs 5 lakh compensation to the family of a deceased farmer. So far the government has released Rs 4.50 crore as compensation for 92 families for the year 2015-16 and Rs 2.30 crore for 46 families for 2016-17. The compensation for 2017-18 is yet to be released.