KOLKATA: The West Bengal government claimed that the NCRB data showing no farming-related suicides in the last two years reflects the ground-level impact of development projects launched by CM Mamata Banerjee at a time when the entire country is reeling under agrarian distress.
“The state government is committed towards the overall socio-economic development of the families of all farmers,’’ it said in a statement.
In fact, Transport Minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay and many Trinamool Congress leaders have been highlighting the NCRB records that show no farmer suicide for two consecutive years in Bengal.
At least 10,281 persons involved in the farm sector died by suicide in 2019, accounting for 7.4% of the total number of suicides in the country. The figure for 2018 is 10,348. Maharashtra (3,927), Karnataka (1,992), Andhra Pradesh (1,029), Madhya Pradesh (541), Chhattishgarh (499) and Telengana (499) account for 83% of farmers’ suicides reported last year.
The state government claimed that earning capacity of farmers in Bengal has increased three times in past eight years.
“Farmers are getting bank loans without facing any hardship. We are providing them fertiliser, seeds and other facilities which are required to produce crops. Even in the Covid pandemic, more than 12 lakh farmers have received kisan credit cards in last three months,’’ said an official of agriculture department.
But, the opposition BJP claimed that the West Bengal government use underarm tactics to cover up farm suicides.
“They bracket all suicides in rural Bengal to some other problems of families of the victims. Other states, meanwhile, are honest in admitting in farming distress,’’ said a senior BJP leader.