Mamata dismisses farmer suicide reports as ‘malicious campaign’

January 31st, 2012 - 12:03 am ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, Jan 30 (IANS) Dismissing reports of farmers committing suicide due to agricultural mismanagement as a “malicious political campaign”, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday reiterated that only one farmer had taken his life since she came to power last May.

“They (the opposition and media) are saying that many farmers have committed suicide. This is not right. Only one farmer has died during my tenure and that too is sad. I am ready to help the family members of the dead farmer,” she said.

“Others who have committed suicide are not farmers. If they were poor farmers then how come they can take loans worth crores of rupees? This is a campaign to malign our government. We have the full report,” claimed Banerjee.

According to the opposition Left Front, 28 farmers have committed suicide in the state due to agricultural mismanagement in Bengal.

The Congress, whose ties with the ruling Trinamool Congress have been strained in the recent past, has also alleged that 25 farmers had ended their lives in the first eight months of Trinamool’s rule due to farm debts.

“There is a difference between farmers and those who do business with agricultural products. The Krishak Sabha of Left Front should not try to teach me about the interests of farmers. I know it better than anybody else. What were they doing during the days of Singur and Nandigram,” she said.

State Agriculture Minister Rabindranath Bhattacharya said Jan 16 that three farmers committed suicide in the state but not because of debt.

Governor M.K. Narayanan had also said many agriculturists owed huge sums and the government should find a solution.

Banerjee alleged that alliance partner Congress and CPI-M were “spreading false stories” about the crib deaths in the state.

“In some places the CPI-M and in Malda district the Congress are spreading false stories about the crib deaths. Everybody has to understand that even in this decade also there are many babies in rural Bengal who are born in their homes. This thing is aggravating the problem, we have to raise awareness about it,” she said.

“These babies are not dying because of lack of treatment, but because most of these babies were severely underweight. In last eight months the rate of crib deaths in the state has come down by one percent,” she claimed.

Banerjee’s comment comes within days after a senior health official of Malda district hospital confirmed that since Jan 1 to Jan 27, about 100 crib deaths have been reported in the hospital.

Between Oct 25-28 last year, 16 babies died at the B.C. Roy Children’s Hospital in Kolkata, while the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital reported 12 infant deaths Oct 27-28.

In June last year, 18 babies had died at the B.C. Roy Children’s Hospital.

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