For the past few years, the West Bengal state government claims that the income of farmers in the state has increased three times compared to other states and besides, the number of farmer suicides is zero.
Recently released data from the National Crime Records Bureau said that no farmer committed suicide in West Bengal in 2021. But statistics provided by the West Bengal government in response to an RTI query revealed some shocking figures.
In response to a Right to Information (RTI) query by socio-legal researcher and RTI activist Biswanath Goswami about how many farmers committed suicide in West Bengal last year, official documents provided by the West Bengal government said that in 2021 there were a total of 122 people committed suicide who were related to agriculture sector in West Medinipur district of the state itself. So far in 2022, 34 farmers have committed suicide in this district. This information was provided by the State Public Information Officer and Deputy Superintendent of Police Paschim Medinipur district in response to a query by social and legal expert Biswanath Goswami.
According to the official response, the highest number of suicides of farmers and agricultural dependents occurred in Ghatal police station area of West Medinipur district. A total of 63 people committed suicide there last year, and 13 people who were dependent on agriculture have committed suicide this year. After Ghatal, the number of farmer suicides in Goaltor rose to 14 last year and five people have committed suicide in the area so far this year. Last year, 10 people committed suicide in the Anandapur police station area, and this year two have decided to commit suicide. In Keshpur area of the same district last year 8 people dependent on agriculture committed suicide and this year five people dependent on agriculture killed themselves in this area.
Now the question arises. If 122 farmers committed suicide in West Medinipur district of the state alone, why is the number of farmer suicides in the state listed as zero in the information released by the National Crime Record Bureau?
According to sources, the state government sends all the statistics to the National Crime Records Bureau. So did the state deliberately send distorted information to the NCRB to preserve the image of the state?
The opposition raises questions about the role of state administration. RTI activist Biswanath Goswami told India Today, “Crime in West Bengal is not properly recorded. This incident shows that the manipulation of registered crime data is terribly true. It is clear that crime statistics for the last ten years are statistics. Farmer suicide is very high problem. Even if a mobile phone is stolen, the police forces people to report it as lost. More than 25-30 percent of reported cybercrime cases are not converted into FIRs.”
The opposition asked whether the details of the farmer’s suicide were not officially registered, whether his family would receive any compensation from the state government.