The frequency of incidents of farmers committing suicides is “unimaginable” in West Bengal, State Left Front chairman Biman Bose said here on Friday.
“The government had fixed a target of 20 lakh metric tonnes for procurement of paddy from peasants in the State. According to reports, it has only collected 2 lakh metric tonnes so far,” Mr. Bose, who is also the State secretary of the CPI(M), told journalists.
Stating that paddy procurement was “meagre,” compared to that of other States, Mr. Bose said: “farmers are being driven to distress sales and are not being able to repay their loans. The way farmers’ suicides are taking place in Bengal, it is unimaginable. The figure has now gone up to 12 (suicides since the Trinamool Congress-led Government came to power in the State).”
Congratulating the efforts of the four peasant organisations affiliated to the Left parties, which organised an agricultural strike in the rural areas on January 4, Mr. Bose urged the government to initiate measures that would ensure that farmers got fair prices for their produce.
He said farmers were not even receiving the minimum support price that had been declared by the Centre. The Centre had announced a minimum support price of Rs.1,080 a quintal of paddy. However, farmers were claiming that they were being paid far less. Mr. Bose was critical of the manner in which “the environment has been vitiated in educational institutions” across the State since the Trinamool Congress came to power.