The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mutt support for farmers’ families

Bangalore, March 23: A religious institution in Chitradurga district of Karnataka has set up a fund to help the families of farmers who committed suicide under the strain of financial burdens.

The fund, called Jeeva Hathye Punarujjeevana Nidhi (fund to restore lives to the families that have lost hope in life), has been set up by the Sri Murugarajendra Bruhan Mutt with Rs 10 lakh.

Seer Shivamurthy Sharanaru, who initiated the project, hoped that “compassionate people of all classes, castes and communities would come forward to help and make this fund worth crores”. The mutt has decided to initiate the project because of the abject penury that has hit farmers in this region, he said.

“I have seen in the past few years that many farmers had killed themselves in the state, particularly in Hubli, Chitradurga and south Canara, due to failure of crops, heavy debt burden and increasing inability to cope with the demands of life. Their dependants, including children, were left with no resources and were pushed to starvation. These children became vulnerable and some of them grew up as anti-social elements. As somebody who prays for the well being of people everyday, I could not remain a mute spectator to this.”

The mutt has earlier helped such families in Haveri and Bidar districts at a meagre scale. “This was not enough.” Hence, the decision to set up a larger fund. A committee comprising people from different fields will be formed to manage the fund.

The mutt is also building a hospital in Haveri to give affordable medical care to the poor.

Large segments of the population, particularly the farming community in the Hubli, Haveri, south Canara regions have welcomed the initiative. “The effort is welcome, particularly in the context of the lack of response from the government to our troubles,” said Shivappa, a farmer from Haveri.

Representatives of local governments also welcomed the initiative, though they were not clear whether government would contribute to the fund or launch another project on similar lines.

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