Film on farmer suicides released in Punjab

Chandigarh, March 8 (IANS) An NGO, Ekatra, Monday released a documentary film highlighting the plight of families of farmers who committed suicides in Punjab.

The documentary film covers Lehra Gaga and Andana blocks of Sangrur district, around 100 km from here, where many cases of farmer suicides have been reported in the last few years.

Inderjit Singh Jaijee, who works for the welfare of victim families, said: ‘We have maintained the records of farmer suicides since 1988. According to our figures, over 3,000 farmers commit suicide every year in the state.’

‘But the records compiled by police, district administration and other groups are quite contradictory. Like police said that during the period from 2002 to 2007 only seven FIRs (first information reports) of suicide were registered whereas district administration said that 232 cases of suicide were reported during this period,’ said Jaijee.

Anwar Jamal, who has directed the film, said the documentary will be screened at various forums in the coming months.

‘Farmers committing suicides is a major problem in Punjab but it is not only the failure of crop that prompts them to take this extreme step. In many cases, they were illiterates, drug-addicts and had taken huge debts to fulfil their other needs,’ said G.S. Kalkat, chairperson of of Punjab Farmers Commission, who formally released the film.

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