NHRC asks Odisha to give detailed report on farmer suicides

Bhubaneswar: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Odisha government for a detailed report on suicides by farmers in Bargarh district and steps taken for the relief and rehabilitation of the affected families, the rights body said on Thursday.

In a notice to the state government, it asked for the report to be submitted within four weeks.

The NHRC had taken suo-motu cognisance of a media report that 12 farmers had committed suicide within 50 days in the district.

The most recent case was that of a farmer who took his life on December 15, 2017, because of crop loss and a loan burden, a statement issued by the watchdog said.

The Commission, while expressing serious concern over the incidents of farmer suicides in Odisha, observed that the grave situation amounted to a violation of the right to life of the victims.

It called for immediate measures by the state government.

"Accordingly, it has issued a notice to the chief secretary, Government of Odisha, calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks, including the steps taken for relief and rehabilitation of the affected families," the statement said.

The Commission also observed that there had been a number of cases of suicides by farmers and farm labourers across the country, including in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

It had taken cognisance of these incidents and emphasised that the Centre and the concerned state governments needed to take immediate and effective steps to "understand the anguish of the poor farmers".

The state governments should also ensure that farmers were not forced to take their lives because of any action or inaction by the state authorities, it said. 

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