Indian farmers commit suicide after rains destroy crops

At least 30 farmers in north reportedly committed suicide over the last week after the wettest march in a century.

    Estimates suggest millions of hectares of crops in at least four states have been damaged by rain last month [Reuters]
    Estimates suggest millions of hectares of crops in at least four states have been damaged by rain last month [Reuters]

    At least 30 farmers in India have reportedly committed suicide over the past week in northern India after non-seasonal rains destroyed thousands of hectares of crops before harvest. 

    According to India’s weather bureau, last month was the wettest March in a century. Estimates suggest millions of hectares of crops in states like Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan have been damaged. 

    The state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh are yet to recognise the alleged suicides as related to crop damage.

    "Our situation has gotten worse, but what can we do?" Hansraj Ghevra, a farmer in the outskirts of New Delhi, told Al Jazeera. "We farmers don't have anyone to turn to and we don't have any faith in the government. We have to survive on our own the best we can."

    Farmer suicides in distress is not a new issue in India.

    "Consecutive governments have struggled to deal with such, often alleged, deaths in connection with everything from drought and storms to bad debt," said Al Jazeera's Nidhi Dutt.

    "The thing to keep in mind, at this point, is that millions of farmers across India threw their support behind Narendra Modi's government during last year's national election and as a result, they are expecting quick and effective action," she added, reporting from New Delhi.

    The destruction of thousands of hectares of crops on the cusp of harvest comes as the Modi government also faces a backlash from farmers and India's political opposition against what are being viewed as anti-farmer policies, and in particular, proposed changes to the contentious land acquisition bill.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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