Saturday, January 19, 2008

Docs fear more suicides

Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, Jan. 18: Doctors of a voluntary medical organisation, who spoke to farmers to know the impact of land acquisition on aged farmers in early 2007, fear more suicides in the coming days in view of today’s Calcutta High Court order.
Four farmers of Singur, who had been either displaced from their plots or rendered jobless as agricultural labourers after the acquisition, have committed suicide in the past eight months.
They had been suffering from depression and spending their days in anxiety since they were evicted from their lands.
Doctors from the Medical Service Centre visited several villages in five affected mouzas of Singur and spoke to the farmers who were displaced from their lands.
The doctors, including psychologists, said 40 elderly farmers, whose lands were acquired by the state government without taking their consent, were suffering from depression and anxiety disorder. Some of them have developed insomnia.
The doctors also observed that the farmers were displaying suicidal behaviour.
“With the High Court judgment going in favour of the state government, farmers, who hoped that they would get back their lands after winning the legal battle, will receive a shock which might drive them to end their lives,” Dr Mridul Sarkar, an MSC doctor, said.
Dr Sarkar, among those who carried out the survey, said they spoke to at least 1,000 farmers in Singur and found that 40 of them had been suffering from depression and insomnia.
All of them are aged farmers. “The survey report has gained significance because the Calcutta High Court verdict has gone against the farmers. The farmers need counselling,” the doctor said.