Tribal suicide rates escalate in Wayanad - The New Indian Express

Tribal suicide rates escalate in Wayanad

Published: 08th September 2013 08:46 AM

Last Updated: 08th September 2013 09:33 AM

Tribal suicides are increasing in Wayanad, thanks to the burgeoning economic distress among tribals. A majority of the tribals here are agricultural workers. In the 2011 survey, it was found that there was a dramatic decline in the total number of working days available in the agrarian sector. Out of the 43,428 men who got work, only 31.02 percent got work for more than 180 days. The number for women is a mere 10.55 percent. The drastic decline in paddy cultivation, the total area for which shrank from 30,000 hectare in 1980 to 7,000 by 2001, seems to have taken a heavy toll on the livelihood of these women.

It is said that even the MNREGS could not attract many tribals. “The delay in the payment of wages made the tribals indifferent to the Centre’s flagship employment guarantee scheme,” an official said. “For many years, smallscale farmers haven’t been able to do cultivation in a sustainable way. The tribal workers who depended on these farmers started migrating to neighbouring states in search of work. Migration may alter the tribal social fabric in myriad ways,” said E G Joseph, former joint director of the department of ST Development.

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