Farmers suicides in Karnataka

BANGALORE, AUGUST 29: Like other states, Karnataka too showing signs of severe agrarian distress in the current financial year. More than 50 farmers committed suicides in less than five months in the current fiscal year.

The BJP government has already declared 86 taluks in 20 districts as drought hit. Standing crops on 16 lakh hectares got damaged on account of deficit rains since June 1. The crop loss in rainfed areas has been estimated at Rs. 720.20 crore and horticultural crops on over 60,000 hectares have been ruined due to scanty rains. In fact, more than 3/4th of lands in the state is rainfed. Only 23 per cent the sowing was depended on irrigation facilities in Karnataka.

Standing food crops and commercial crops got withered in 20 districts following scanty rainfall. The central team visited to the state to said the state’s demand for Rs. 394 crore relief is realistic demand.

According to sources in the Government, as on July end, the highest number of suicide cases has been reported from Shimoga (7), followed by Tumkur – six cases, Belgaum and Hassan – five each, Chikmagalur, Bidar, Davangere, and Bijapur – three each, Chitradurga, Dakshina Kannada – two each and Mysore district – one.

Out of the last nine years, the State has experienced droughts for seve

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n years and this is one of the major reasons for farmers taking extreme step. A large number of farmers committed suicide during the drought period from 2000-01 to 2003-04. As many as 337 suicide cases have been reported in 2008-09.

Despite several steps taken by the State government, farmers suicides continued over the years. Cooperatives have been disbursed loans at three per cent rate of interest. To learn new farming methods, the Government sent 633 farmers to China at a cost of Rs. 423.79 lakhs. The government had given Rs. 1,000 each to small and marginal farmers who are dependent on dry lands farming, officials said.

Maharashtra tops the list of farmers’ suicides

New Delhi (PTI): Fourty-six farmers commit suicide every day in this country even as packages were rolled out in a bid to bailout the debt-ridden community from crisis.

A whopping 16,632 cases of suicides by farmers, including 2,369 women were reported across the country last year with Maharashtra retaining the dubious distinction of having the largest number of such incidents despite a slump in figures.

Farmers’ suicide constituted 14.4 per cent of the total 1,22,637 suicides in the country in 2007, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) said in its latest report, Accidental Deaths and Suicide Report — 2007′.

In 2006, the figures were 17,060 and since 1997 there were 1,82,936 cases of farmers’ suicide in the country.

In a grim reminder of the appalling conditions of the farmers in this agriculture dominated country, the NCRB said besides Maharashtra, six other states have recorded over 1,000 cases of farmers’ suicides each in 2007.

Maharashtra, where the Central Government pitched in with a special package, reported 4,238 suicides last year, a decline of 215 from 2006, it said.

Karnataka (2,135), Andhra Pradesh (1,797), Chhattisgarh (1,593), Madhya Pradesh (1,263), Kerala (1,263) and West Bengal (1,102) followed Maharashtra in the list.

These states were in the top-seven list in 2006 too. While Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh showed a decline in the number of farmers’ suicide last year compared to 2006, such cases witnessed an increase in Karnataka, Kerala and West Bengal.

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185 farmers committed suicide in State in first half of 2008-09

BANGALORE: The number of reported cases of farmer suicides in the State touched 185 in the first half of this financial year (2008-09).

The State’s agricultural sector has been facing a plethora of problems. Apart from the erratic monsoon this year, the shortage of fertilizers disrupted kharif sowing, leading to a delay in sowing operations in several districts.

The global economic slowdown is likely to depress the prices of cotton, while sugarcane growers are threatening an agitation seeking higher support price for their produce.

Sugarcane growers are unhappy with the procurement price (Rs. 811 a tonne) offered by the Government.

The State has not been able meet the sowing target set for the kharif season (2008). Sowing took place on 65.36 lakh hectares of land against the target of 74.4 lakh hectares, achieving 87 per cent of the target.

As on September 30, the highest number of suicide cases was reported from Hassan district (23).

A large tract of potato crop was destroyed in Hassan district owing to incessant rain during the kharif season. The loss has been estimated at over Rs. 300 crore. Hassan topped the list in the number of suicides by farmers in 2003-04 (69) and 2004-05 (37).

In Bidar district, 20 farmers committed suicide followed by 15 in Belgaum, 13 in Chikmagalur, 12 in Mandya, and 10 each in Bijapur and Chitradurga.

The number of cases reported from other districts are: Haveri – 2; Uttara Kannada – 6; Dharwad – 8; Koppal, Ramanagaram and Raichur – 3 each; Tumkur, Gulbarga, Gadag and Mysore – 7 each; Shimoga – 8; Kodagu – 4; Davangere – 6; and Dakshina Kannada – 1, according to sources in the Government.

Not a single case of suicide by farmers has been reported from six districts. The two drought-prone districts of Kolar and Chikkaballapur, and Bangalore Rural, Bangalore Urban, Chamarajnagar and Udupi districts reported no suicide cases between April and September 2008.

The number of farmers committing suicide has seen a decline from 2000-01, when 2,360 farmers ended their lives.

As many as 708 suicide cases were reported in 2003-04, 271 in 2004-05, 163 in 2005-06, 343 cases in 2006-07, and 340 in 2007-08.

Of the 185 cases reported so far this year, 136 cases have been placed before a committee set up to sanction compensation to the next of kin.

The committee rejected the claims in 62 cases and awarded compensation of Rs. 1 lakh to the families concerned in 23 cases.

The panel recommended compensation in 26 cases while the remaining cases are pending before the committee, according to official sources.

Officials said that investigation of the deaths by the police and the district administration revealed discrepancies between statements made to the police by the relatives immediately after the death and later.

Some natural deaths had been reported as suicide cases to get compensation from the Government, they said.

It is well known that “undue pressure” by moneylenders and some recovery agents of banks forced farmers to commit suicides in most cases.

The volume of business in private lending has increased four-fold during the past decade in the State.

The Technical Group to Review Legislation on Money Lending (headed by retired banker S.C. Gupta), which submitted its report to the Reserve Bank of India, stated that the money lent by moneylenders in the State increased to Rs. 87.70 crore in March 2006 from Rs. 19.22 crore in March 1995.

Farmer suicides hits new high in Karnataka

Another debt-ridden farmer committed suicide

Staff Correspondent

TUMKUR: Yet another debt-ridden farmer committed suicide at Ponnasamudra village in Tumkur district on Tuesday.

The police said Eranna (45) of the village and his wife Boramma consumed a pesticide at their field. They were about to administer the same pesticide to their three children, when the villagers intervened and shifted them to hospital.

The police said Eranna died at the hospital. Boramma was struggling for life. On Sunday, Gangadharappa (48) immolated himself in Theriyur in the district. This is the second case of suicide during the week.

Tahasildar A.P. Ramakrishna visited the hospital.

The officials said that Eranna had borrowed a crop loan from Cauvery Kalpatharu Grameena Bank, a regional rural bank sponsored by State Bank of Mysore. They said he had taken hand loans from friends and relatives for installing three borewells in his land.

RTI ACT-six farmer suicides per day

Nearly 7,000 farmers committed suicide in different parts of the country in just three years, according to government statistics alone. The average is even more frightening: it works out to six farmers killing themselves every day during that period.

Despite this, no mechanism has been put in place to monitor the progress of implementation of the Prime Minister’s special package for the farmers of 31 suicide-prone districts across Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra, according to the reply furnished by the Union agriculture ministry to a set of questions posed by this newspaper under the Right to Information Act.

The figures, complete only till November 2006, reveal that 6,899 farmers had committed suicide till that date. Of the affected states, Maharashtra, which was singled out by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a special visit, registered a tremendous increase in suicides by farmers with the toll rising from 577 in 2005 to 1,843, according to figures compiled by the state government till October 31, 2006. Kerala, according to government statistics, has registered an increase as well from 120 deaths in 2005 to 146 till November last year.

Andhra Pradesh, which had witnessed 1,126 farmer suicides in 2004-05, brought the figure down to 92 last year, while Karnataka’s highest of 708 deaths in 2003-04 has been reduced gradually to 44 till November last year. To a question on the “current status of benefits accrued to the victims of farmers’ families of these 31 districts as a result of the Prime Minister’s special package”, the ministry’s reply, signed by additional commissioner (policy) K.G. Radhakrishnan, remarked, “This is being handled in the Credit Division of DAC.” However, the actual reply gave a 10-point note with a leading remark that said, “The following benefits to the farmers are envisaged under the PM’s Relief Package.” The reply then mentioned ex-gratia assistance from the Prime Minister’s Natural Calamities Relief Fund of Rs 50 lakhs per district, debt relief for farmers, and an estimated credit flow of Rs 1,275 crores for the current financial year 2006-07. Notably, the reply failed to include what percentage of the credit flow in the same financial year has already been achieved.

Regarding interest waivers, it said, “The overdue interest on agricultural loans as on June 30, 2006, amounting to Rs 712 crores, will be waived. The burden of waiver will be shared equally between the Central and state governments.” The reply blandly repeated the special package announcement that “1.59 lakh hectares will be brought under assured irrigation facilities at a cost of Rs 2,177 crores over a period of three years through completion of all major, medium and minor irrigation projects.” The package included a massive seed replacement programme and the ministry’s reply fails to quantify what is the progress achieved, despite mentioning it. Though the package advocated watershed development and construction of check dams, none of the four states have so far begun work on check dams, according to ministry sources. However, the reply says, “500 check dams every year will be constructed over the next three years.” The watershed development programme has also not made much headway in the four states. The note throws no light on the progress of subsidiary income programmes like livestock, dairies and fisheries. Though the internal agriculture ministry action plan for the implementation of the package called for monitoring committees to be set up by respective state governments, only the Andhra Pradesh government’s monitoring committee has reported to the Centre so far, according to agriculture ministry sources.

Maharashtra topped the number for distress suicides by farmers last year across the country and two-thirds of the number of these suicides are accounted for by six districts in the Vidarbha region. Farmer suicides until October 31 last year in that state were 1,843. Six districts of the impoverished Vidarbha region — Akola, Amravati, Buldhana, Washim, Yavatmal and Wardha — witnessed 1,156 distress suicides by farmers, almost 100 suicides per day. Until November 2006, the number of farmer suicides in Andhra Pradesh was 139, Karnataka recorded 77 and the state of Kerala recorded 135 suicides.

While states like Andhra Pradesh, too, witnessed a large number of farmer suicides, 1,843 in a year is unprecedented. Andhra Pradesh had witnessed 1,126 farmer suicides in 2004-05; no other state has recorded more than 1,000 farmer suicides in a year. Even in the case of Maharashtra, the distress deaths grew exponentially. In calendar 2003, the number of deaths was 170, in 2004 622 farmer suicides were recorded, 2005 saw 577 farmers perish, and in 2006 the suicide count reached 1,843, according to the data in the ministry’s reply.

Within the Vidarbha region, Yavatmal district witnessed 282 farmer suicides during the first 11 months of 2006. Buldhana, with 248 suicides, Amravati with 208, Akola with 146, Washim with 142, Wardha with 132 suicides, and more farmer suicides being reported from these districts continue to put a question mark on the effectiveness of the government’s measures.

Seven thousand farmers committed suicide in three years

Sunday, 18 February 2007

NEW DELHI, Feb 18 APP: About seven thousand farmers have committed suicide in India in just three years.

        The Asian Age in its lead story on Sunday quoting government statistics said the average is even more frightening:  it works out to six farmers killing themselves every day during the period.
       According to the daily no mechanism has been put in place to monitor the progress of implementation of the Prime Minister’s special package for  distressed farmers.
       In 31 suicide – prone districts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra.
     Quoting Union Agriculture Ministry, the paper said the figure complete only till November 2006, reveals that 6, 899 farmers have committed till that date. Of the affected states Maharashtra, which was singled out by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a special visit, registered a tremendous increase in suicides by farmers with the toll rising from 577 in 2005 to 1,843, according to statistics till October 31, 2006. 
      Kerala, according to government statistics, has registered an increase as well from 120 last year.  Andhra Pradesh, which had witnessed 1,126 farmer suicides in 2004 -05, brought the figure down to 92 last year, while Karnataka’s highest of 78 deaths in 2003-04 has been reduced gradually to 45 till Novembers last year.
        The paper quoted the PM relief fund to improving the plight of the farmers which include setting up dams, waiving off loans,  ex-gratia assistance from the Prime Miniter’s Natural Calamities Relief Fund of Rs. 50 lacks per district, an estimated credit flow of Rs. 1, 275 crores for the current financial year 2006-07.

Seven thousand farmers committed suicide in three years

 

Sunday, 18 February 2007

NEW DELHI, Feb 18 APP: About seven thousand farmers have committed suicide in India in just three years.

        The Asian Age in its lead story on Sunday quoting government statistics said the average is even more frightening:  it works out to six farmers killing themselves every day during the period.
       According to the daily no mechanism has been put in place to monitor the progress of implementation of the Prime Minister’s special package for  distressed farmers.
       In 31 suicide – prone districts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra.
     Quoting Union Agriculture Ministry, the paper said the figure complete only till November 2006, reveals that 6, 899 farmers have committed till that date. Of the affected states Maharashtra, which was singled out by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a special visit, registered a tremendous increase in suicides by farmers with the toll rising from 577 in 2005 to 1,843, according to statistics till October 31, 2006. 
      Kerala, according to government statistics, has registered an increase as well from 120 last year.  Andhra Pradesh, which had witnessed 1,126 farmer suicides in 2004 -05, brought the figure down to 92 last year, while Karnataka’s highest of 78 deaths in 2003-04 has been reduced gradually to 45 till Novembers last year.
        The paper quoted the PM relief fund to improving the plight of the farmers which include setting up dams, waiving off loans,  ex-gratia assistance from the Prime Miniter’s Natural Calamities Relief Fund of Rs. 50 lacks per district, an estimated credit flow of Rs. 1, 275 crores for the current financial year 2006-07.

Karnataka Agri Minister orders review of agri research

http://www.isvarmurti.com/2007/02/01/creating-valu…

Karnataka Agri Minister orders review of agri reserch

Indian agri research establishment is a huge body, its network extending the whole of India. Almost all the States have one agri university, some like Maharashtra more than one university. All these five and half decades India had done well in agri sector. There are number of sectors in which India is number one or in a strong position. For instance rice, wheat, milk, sugar to give in competition to foreign countries.
But now what is the problem? The Karnataka Agriculture Minister H.K.Patil had announced a panel of experts to find out whether the Rs.550 crores the State had spent on the two agri universities had done the job. The Minister had pointed out the stagnition in agri production, low yield in rain-fed areas. There are gapping holes in the lab-land strategy. Is the money worth spent? The Minister didn’t mince his words. The researches are done for the thesis for publication in international journals, rather then for immediate application. The panel in two months would submit its report finding out whether research helps the farming community. We in this journal welcome the Minister’s action as timely. We urge all agri Ministers in their respective States to do such a self-appraisal. On the Science Day, many scientists, U.R.Rao, M.S.Swaminathan had spoken about what are the problems.

But they have no practical solutions! Grassroots development, says Rao, Fine. But why we haven’t done it so far? 25 per cent people are only having safedrinking water supplies, says Rao and Swaminathan. Why we are not able to provide safe drinking water even for one metropolitan city? So says the CEO of Urban Infrastructure Finance Corporation. M.S.Swaminathan had given the two major political parties his agenda for eradicating hunger in the next few years. The parties responded, he says. Fine.

But the Central Government in appointing a new Commission, is giving away its real intentions. How to prolong to draw up an immediate action plan for the agri sector. We say : Consult the farmers. Consult the experts. Consult the technology, infrastructure and practical farmers leaders. Market driven, partly helped by the State, the thrust market-driven towards creating more jobs in the countryside, more wealth creating by innovative development models. IT should contribute, new sectors like food processing, SSIs are capable of generating jobs, wealth and value in agriculture.

This is not simple platform talk! We need a basic new strategy for the agriculture issues of today. Second Green Revolution is not the answer. Environment issues are now a high priority, isn’t it so? So, we need a multi-facetd development strategy. A pro-market, pro-privatisation, public-privte participation development models in agriculture are the way forward.
We need an Agriculture Agenda Task Force, as in the case of the Bangalore city Development Agenda, involving the private sector and the State governments and the end-users, farmers and entrepreneurs, say, for instance, in developing the agri export zones. In this country our mindset is still pro-government. This mindset must give way to the new economy models, IT driven delivery of a range of services, to online trade in agri commodities and services.

Vadamalai had put up a website, in its third year, is already acting as a global business portal for agriculture. There are so many innovative ways in which value creation and wealth creation in agri sector could be accelerated.

Agriculture marketing a high priority

http://www.isvarmurti.com/2007/02/01/agriculture-m…

Why then governments allow farmers suicides even now?

There were two farmers suicides in the month of July. The two were in Karnataka. One in Tumkur district and another in Gulbarga district. The Tumkur farmers committed suicide by hanging himself in his field and the causes are the same ones known to the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi! So, too we hope the Gulbarga farmer. one of the many who flock the command area around the Upper Krishna Project in the district to cultivate high value crops like chillies and cotton.
We hope we need not go into the details of the losses made by the AP farmers cultivating chillies. But for those who sit cosy in Delhi bungalows and plush government offices, here are a brief indication what was lost. On average, chilli growers suffered losses ranging from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.3 lakhs on cultivation on 10 acres of land. The suicide farmer, Edukondalu, had taken up chilli cultivation on 10 acres in Ganwar in Jewargi (the state CM. Dharam Singh’s constituency) taluk he incurred a loss of Rs.2 lakhs because of the fall in prices. Many farmers families had deserted their camps and moved to AP because of the heavy crop losses. Thankfully, the newspaper report goes into some detail and how even the fertilise soil of the UKP command area, a” a goldminde” for AP farmers had led to the tragedy. Tragedy to many farming families. Some farmers have reported they have lost at the rate Rs.5 lakhs each. While the high value varieties of chillies, Bayadgi variety, fetched Rs.7,000 a quintal. Suddenly fell to Rs.2,000. The other Guntur variety, fell from Rs.2,500 to just Rs. 1,000.

“Even farmers who had taken up cultivation of cotton had burnt their fingers because the failure of BT cotton and other varieties also failed this season. “While leaving their camps, the AP farmers left behind dumps of chilli in their fields, worth several lakhs of rupees, which was rotting as they could not get the remunerative price for their produce. “There was a chain reaction. Farmers could not pay their lease rent for their fields or the wages for farm labour.

On the very same day of this news item, alongside was another news item. Policemen were on rounds (we don’t know whether there was any lathi charges or not) when the Agriculture Produce Market Committee Act of 2003 was amend and the traders, farmers, marketing yard personnel were staged a bandh. Why? The APMC Act amendment is seen as the government giving in to the MNCs in retail and wholesale trade and that would hit the farmers to get the best prices for their produce.
We do not know the details or the intricacies of the APMC Act. What we know for sure is that the farmers are facing the distress sales of chillies, not only in the one place we have detailed but also in other century old chillies market in Karnataka and elsewhere.

Mr.Deve Gowda, the former PM, is heading a highly strong pro-farmers party and also holding a critical role in ensuring the coalition government hangs on! Gowda also could give some shock to the UPA government in Delhi, if he chooses to do so!

There is a feeling among the farmers of the Karnataka state that Gowda could do much in pursing lot of pro-farmers policies in Delhi. But sop far there is no indication. Rather he seems to be having his own priorities. As an experienced politician he might have his own reasons why he interferes in the Bangalore Metro rail project, why he doesn’t in the farmers issues. Luckily, the Karnataka Dy. CM, Mr.Siddaramaiah, who comes from a predominately small farmers, sheep farming community, has been doing some really genuine radical changes. The crop loans interest rate had been brought down to 6 per cent. Why the PM thinks it fit to ask other state governments to do the same for crop loans?

The irony is there was this news item on the same day. That was about the “second” meeting of the “task force on rural development”. The way the newspapers report this meeting suggests as if it is a UN general assembly meeting! It was a routine bureaucratic exercise considering the “presentations’ by ministries and the ,as usual, P.Chidamabaram’s interventions! All the task force was to discuss was to allot funds for rural roads and rural electrification and additional irrigation.

This is no meeting where the PM should waste his precious time. Rural infrastructure is very important. In fact, we feel, this one-year government which didn’t do much in one year, can do nothing but only concentrate on “infrastructure” alone! Please do what the predecessor government did for National High Ways. Dr.Singh will be remembered only for such initiatives. Not for his silent, all pure all correct conduct of day to day existence!

What rural infrastructure is critical? It is IT connectivity. So, expand broadband connectivity. Set targets. Build rural godowns that will store farmers produce. Cold storages that would preserve perishables for some months. If info-kiosks are installed, farmers can access latest information and also know when to move their crops and where. There must be a price stabilisation funds for ensuring stabilising the prices of sensitive crops like chillies and vegetables and fruits.

MNCs are not evils. Not any more in farming. But there is a need to define what MNCs can and cant do in rural areas. Contract farming is an inevitable current need. Not MNCs, even state level agencies, private sector would come in, as textile mills in Coimbatore are doing in cotton cultivation on contract farming. There are now any number of small scale initiatives by farmers themselves, in contract farming projects, for a number of crops. What New Delhi does not know or what it does not care to know is the fact that banks are terribly ignorant. Why, we know many PSU banks are openly hostile to farmers! The Nabard and banks officials are so ignorant they do not know the latest developments, be it agri information or use of Internet information or an open mind. In India’s biggest bank, there are 5 layers of bureaucracy in the zonal office. Their branch manager takes up a project. After making farmers spend money, time over two months, the zonal office ignoramuses talk through their hats!

Farmers distress comes in plain government indifference. See UPA’s promises not being kept! Banks are not willing to give agri credit! There are market failures! Then, there is a blacout of this rural reality in New Delhi!

Whom to blame? Taking their lives is the only left out choice for farmers who are forced to the wall!

Cooperative farm loans worth Rs. 4,836 crore to be waived

Special Correspondent
http://www.hindu.com/2007/01/30/stories/2007013011…

My Government will keep the promise: Kumaraswamy

`Priority to develop tier-II and tier-III cities’
Government confident of service sector boom continuing

PROMISES REPEATED: Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy getting ready to address the Janata Dal (Secular) National Executive meeting held at Palace Grounds in Bangalore on Monday. — Photo: K. Gopinathan

BANGALORE: Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Monday said his Government was committed to its promise of waiving farm loans and said the total outstanding of farmers to the cooperative banks in the State, as on December 31 last, was Rs. 4,836.98 crore.

In his address at the national council meeting of the Janata Dal (Secular) here, Mr. Kumaraswamy said that of the outstanding from farmers, the principal amount was Rs. 4,198.45 crore and the interest component Rs. 638.53 crore.

On an average, the per capita debt of farmers vis-à-vis farm loan was Rs. 24,663. The number of cooperative loan accounts in the State was 17,78,753.

He lashed out at the critics of the farm loan waiver proposal and said it was one of the important steps in checking suicide by farmers.

“If a country that wants to become an economic powerhouse cannot end the misery and suicides of its farmers by allocating a few thousand crores of rupees while it gears up for a challenge to invest nearly Rs. 50 lakh crore in improving infrastructure, then something is fundamentally wrong.”

Capital inflow

Mr. Kumaraswamy said the State had received unprecedented industrial investments over the past year and this was expected to increase in the coming financial year. The Government planned to develop tier-two and the tier-three cities and towns in the State to prevent the migration of people and to ensure that the rural people found employment closer home.

The formation of Greater Bangalore had been designed to upgrade the infrastructure in the State’s Capital.

This year, project proposals involving an investment of Rs. 80,000 crore and having an employment potential of 15 lakh jobs, had been cleared by the State Government.

Service sector boom

The State Government was confident that over the 11th Plan period and beyond, manufacturing and service sectors would continue to grow at a healthy pace in the State.

“More than 200 IT and 35 BT companies have been established in the last year indicating that Karnataka continues to be the preferred destination of the knowledge industry”.

Not a bed of roses

The Chief Minister admitted that heading a coalition Government was not a bed of roses.

By conducting “Janata darshans” over the weekend and by staying in the houses of villagers whenever possible, “I have done my best to show that the Government is for the benefit of the common man.”

Party’s support

The Chief Minister thanked the national executive of the Janata Dal (Secular) on revoking the suspension served on him and 39 other MLAs for associating with the BJP in forming a coalition Government in the State.

But for the revocation of the suspension of MLAs at the last national executive meeting held on December 25 last, the Chief Minister and the other Ministers here could not have attended the two-day meet.