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State records 568 poverty-driven suicides in last 3 years
Spl CORRESPONDENT
 NEW DELHI, Jan 2 – At a time when the Assam Government is blowing its own trumpet over economic achievements, a report says that poverty has driven 568 persons to commit suicide in the State.

For a government that is known to boast about its economic agenda, the latest statistical report may come as a dampener because poverty has killed more people in the State than insurgency and floods. Interestingly, the Human Development Index Report of 2011 for India had recorded Assam’s dramatic growth.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi while addressing the Planning Commission last June had in fact boasted that an interesting aspect of Assam’s growth story was that since 2001-2002 onwards, the State never experienced any decline in growth rate.

“I am confident that in the backdrop of the multiplying effects and the present acceleration trend of the economy of the State, Assam would be able to achieve a growth of around 9.38 per cent during the 12th Plan period,” Gogoi had announced during an annual Plan meeting.

The per capita debt of Assam as on March 2009 was calculated at Rs 7,461. This is the second lowest in the country.

Now consider this, in 2009, driven by poverty, 141 persons committed suicide in the State. The next year the figure was little higher at 159 persons. But in 2011, around the same time the Chief Minister talked of 9.38 per cent economic growth, 268 persons committed suicide because of poverty. The figures are part of the Statistical Year Book, India 2013, released yesterday.

Taken together with deaths caused by unemployment, the figures should be a matter of concern. In Assam, 181 persons have committed suicide because of unemployment. The highest death toll was recorded in 2009, when 82 persons driven by unemployment committed suicide. The figure though has come down to 41 in 2011.

As reported yesterday, despite being known as a militancy-hit State, Assam has lost more lives in traffic accidents than to the bullets of the militants. An estimated 7,851 persons have died in road accidents during the last three years.

Interestingly, Assam has also recorded a high death toll over love affairs. A high number of 1,080 persons have committed suicide in Assam during the last three years (2009-2011) because of failed love affairs.

What should be a cause of alarm for the Assam Government is suicides over failed love affairs have shown an increasing trend. In 2001, some 388 persons committed suicide because of love affairs, which was higher than the records of 2009, when 341 such deaths were recorded.

What should be comforting for the State Government though is that the number of drug abuse deaths in the State has shown a declining trend. In 2001, 15 drug abuse deaths were recorded, down from 50 such deaths recorded in 2009. In 2010, 18 drug abuse deaths were recorded.

Failure in examination has emerged as another major killer in Assam, with the State recording 443 such deaths in the last three years. What is worse, the suicides over failure in examination have been increasing. In 2011, 172 such deaths were recorded, which is higher than 129 such deaths recorded in 2009. In 2010, 142 such suicides were recorded in the State.

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