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Package for Idukki mooted

Staff Reporter

Study by M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation

Photo: Vipin Chandran

FOR GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION: Agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan addressing the conference organised by the Rubber Board, in Kochi on Friday.

KOCHI: A study conducted by the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation has found that the farm crisis in Idukki originated from high cost of production of major plantation and spice crops, high volatility of commodity prices and huge escalation in farmers’ debt.

The study report, submitted to the Union government, recommends a package worth Rs.1,126 crore excluding the funds required for waiving of loans, which may come close to Rs.600 crore.

The commission also recommends the setting up of ‘Idukki Aiswarya Samithi’ chaired by the Chief Minister for the implementation of various programmes in the district.

The report noted that though the administration states that there were only 103 suicides during 2001 to 2007, the district cooperative bank gave data on 473 suicides of its farmer members between 1998 and 2007.

The average loan liabilities of Idukki suicide victims ranged between Rs.10,210 and Rs.19,630.

Beyond loans, the hopeless state of agriculture might have driven them to the extreme act, according to the report.

The report also notes that the labour cost is rising and timely availability of labour is difficult.

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