Alibaba, a practising farmer from Revanooru village, Koilakuntla Mandal, Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh cultivated crops on his mother’s two-acre land and an additional 6.5 acres that he leased.
As per the lease agreement, Alibaba would pay Rs 20,000 per acre in advance, but due to severe drought for the past four years, his cotton and Bengal gram crops were damaged, and in 2016, his land could only produce one-third of the total yield.
Alibaba had to borrow an additional Rs 2 lakh because the subsidy was not sufficient to build a house under the Indira Housing Scheme. Further, the crop loss, droughts, lease agreement related payments, all pushed Alibaba into deeper financial crisis.
He further convinced his mother to sell 1.5 acres of the 2-acre land she owned to pay off some amount. But since it was a paltry sum of money, he was not able to withstand the debt crisis; he committed suicide by consuming pesticide, the same pesticides he bought to protect his crops from pests.
Everyone in the village can attest to why, how and under what circumstances Alibaba died, but the officials allege in their report to Rural Development Organisation that Alibaba’s death was due to a dispute between him and his wife. It was further argued that at the time of his death, Roja Bi, his wife, was at her mother’s place, along with their daughter.
Alibaba is yet to receive the compensation or any support from his officials. Alibaba was a degree holder from Koilakuntla. He also completed his ITI course in Srisailam. His mother did everything within her power to educate her only son. Alibaba took to farming after all his efforts to find himself a job went in vain.
“This case is very blatant where everybody in the village testified for Alibaba, and they agreed that he was drowned in debts. These farmers go on taking loans to sustain for himself. They don’t get compensations from the government. By declaring that these farmers are dying because of family disputes, the government tries to avoid any arguments” said Mr Kiran Kumar Vissa, State-Committee Member of Rythu Swarajya Vedika, on organisation working for rights of agricultural workers to The Logical Indian.
Recently, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) confirmed the shocking fact of 322 percent rise in the farmer suicides in Andhra Pradesh during 2015 over 2014. The crisis has been taking a larger shape because of the negligence of the government. NCRB analysed that bankruptcy, debt, and farming related issues as major causes of suicides among farmers. It said that about 4479 out of 8,007 suicides reported chiefly due to being in debt. This accounts for a whopping 55.9 percent of the total suicides.
The Logical Indian believes it is high time for the government to show some assurance by helping the farming community to get out of their debt. As the country is gearing up for another spell of gruelling summer, the government must take precautionary measures to save the lives of farmers.