Tuesday, Apr 30, 2002
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By Our Special Correspondent
Also drawn into the controversy between the two is the report of the expert committee on suicide by farmers headed by the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, G.K. Veeresh.
A prominent Congress member of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly, Ponnala Lakshmaiah today met the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, to seek clarifications on the claim made by Mr. Naidu that the Congress government of Karnataka had refused to pay compensation to the families of farmers ending their lives.
Mr. Naidu was reported to have made the observation while speaking to presspersons at Tirupati on Sunday and lashing out at the misinformation and disinformation campaign launched by Ms. Sonia Gandhi against his Government. The previous day, while addressing a public meeting at Anantapur, Ms. Sonia Gandhi had blamed both the NDA Government at the Centre and the TDP Government for the crisis facing farmers in Andhra Pradesh. The TDP was more concerned with power politics than the distress of farmers, she was reported to have said.
After the meeting with Mr. Krishna, Mr. Lakshmaiah told The Hindu here that Karnataka was providing assistance to the families of the farmers committing suicide if it was on account of failure of crops, indebtedness, etc. But the deputy commissioners of the districts concerned had to certify the cause of death before the Government rendered assistance to the family.
Mr. Lakshmaiah, an aerospace scientist turned legislator, and former minister in the Janardhana Reddi government, said that the clarification from Mr. Krishna had exposed the blatant lies being uttered by Mr. Naidu.
Mr. Krishna had also authorised him to issue the clarification. Mr. Naidu had further said that the pride and self-respect of Andhras were involved in the matter.
Mr. Lakshmaiah said the Union Government had informed Parliament that 75 per cent of the suicide by farmers had taken place in Andhra Pradesh.
He alleged that the TDP Government, which had failed to go to the aid of families of farmers who had ended their lives, paid compensation to the families of those TDP workers who were killed in a road accident while going to the venue of a party meeting.
Mr. Lakshmaiah who was accompanied by the President of the Andhra Pradesh Youth Congress, Venkata Rao, invited Mr. Krishna to inaugurate a Youth Congress training camp to be held in Hyderabad on May 31.
The Veeresh Committee report, which was made public on Saturday, has said that the suicide by farmers was not the result of one single factor, but was related to alcoholism, followed by indebtedness, chronic illness, family discord and family responsibilities.
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