Taking suo motu cognizance of media reports claiming that 106 Tamil Nadu farmers died in a month, either due to heart attack or in suicides, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, asking him to submit a detailed report within six weeks. Noting that the failure of a crop not only affects farmers financially but also puts them under stress and mental agony, the notice quoted media reports that claimed that while 83 farmers had died of heart attack, many others had committed suicide.
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Two days ago, the state government directed all district collectors to submit reports on crops and drought in the region based on spot assessment. A government statement said that till December 31, the state received only 168.3 mm of rain from the north-east monsoon as against the normal rainfall of 440 mm. It added that as per Centre’s guidelines, crop assessment will have to be done in 10 per cent of the number of villages in a district before it can be declared drought-hit.
All Farmers’ Associations of Tamil Nadu coordination committee president P R Pandian, who met the Chief Minister and seven other ministers Tuesday, told The Indian Express that the government had welcomed all the 18 demands they raised in the meeting. “We demanded that Tamil Nadu be immediately declared a drought-hit region,” said Pandian. The Chief Minister, he said, had told them that the state will declare drought and extend all relief soon after they receive the assessment reports, expected to be submitted on January 10.
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