High Court issues notice on farmers' suicides (3/3/2006)

High Court issues notice to Chief Secretary on farmers' suicides issue
The Hindu, March 3, 2006

Mumbai: Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court has issued notice to Maharashtra Chief Secretary and Principal Secretaries of agriculture and finance departments on the issue of suicides committed by cotton growing farmers.

The division bench of Justice J N Patel and Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari has directed the Chief Secretary and others to file an affidavit as to the steps taken to prevent the suicides within four weeks.

The notice in this regard was issued on February 27.

The PIL, filed by Kishor Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti and Tukaram Meshram, alleged the number of farmers committing suicides because of crop failure, since last June, has reached 337 by February end.

Besides, other reasons such as lack of alternatives to money-lenders, the PIL contended that most of these farmers were cotton growing farmers from West Vidarbha region and failure of government promoted BT Cotton seeds ruined them.

According to the petitioners, the state government encouraged BT Cotton seeds -- which are genetically modified -- saying it would lessen spending on pesticides, which proved to be wrong.

Among other things, the PIL has demanded government's promotion of BT cotton -- marketed by Monsanto BT Seeds Company -- should be probed. It has also demanded families of farmers who have committed suicide be given a compensation of Rs five lakh each.


Back to the Archive