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Church offers to tackle farmer suicides

Aid donations collected by the Church rejected by state, says archbishop

Church offers to tackle farmer suicides reporter, Bhopal

February 24, 2011

The Catholic Church in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, has offered its services in tackling farmer suicides in the central Indian state. “The Church is willing to offer services of its trained personnel to the state government for distributing relief package to victims,” said Archbishop Leo Carnelio. The state has suffered unprecedented losses of standing crops due to frost in the last two months, leading to a large number of farmer suicides. The Church reaction came a day after the government admitted in the state assembly that 136 farmers had committed suicide in the past 86 days due to crop failure. According to relief commissioner Anil Shrivastava, crops of 35,759 villages were damaged in January due to the severe cold and frost. A memorandum was handed over to the federal government seeking financial help. “This is a precarious situation. Our bread producers are now on the verge of starvation. This is very tragic,” the archbishop said. He said the Church is helping the farmers in rural areas however was unable to collect donations for the cause from overseas due to the federal government’s stand that the “country does not need outside aid.” The archbishop warned that the farmer suicides will not stop unless proper efforts are made to compensate them. He called on the nation to stand up and come to the rescue of farmers “without whom no-one will have a life.” IC13417.1642

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