NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notice to the Chief Secretary of West Bengal seeking report within four weeks on farmer suicides in the state.
At least 29 farmers -- of this 18 are from State’s rice bowl Burdwan district -- took the extreme step in the recent times, owing to financial problems. The farmer suicides increasingly came to the fore since October last year.
The NHRC issued the notice following a petition filed by Supreme Court advocate and rights activist Radhakanta Tripathy. The latest wave of suicides has fuelled fears that more farmers, caught in debt and unable to sell their harvest at remunerative prices, may kill themselves unless the government stepped in to help them.
The inaction of the State government has led to the recurrence of such incidents in the State, Tripathy alleged. He further contended that the farmer suicides have never been a common phenomena in the State, especially after the land reforms of 1977. So, the state government should handle the situation with sympathy and compassion, Tripathy said, requesting the commission to investigate the issue and also to recommend a mechanism so that farmers could sell their produce at reasonable prices.
The rights activist also sought a compensation package to the families of the deceased farmers.
Besides issuing notice to the chief secretary, the NHRC also marked a copy to the principal secretary (Home) of West Bengal seeking prompt action.