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Thousands of Farmville farmers commit suicide over crop failures

18, Jan 2010 By Wasim Kadak

New Delhi. In a shocking revelation, latest reports coming in from urban India indicate that thousands of Farmville farmers have ended their lives after failure to harvest their crops on time that led to insurmountable debts. The trouble started when internet services across India were disrupted after a submarine cable system in the Mediterranean Sea was cut. Farmville farmers couldn’t access their farms and their crops started wilting.

As the news spread like wild-fire, mass hysteria gripped the farmers who could not envisage how they would repay the coin-loans which they had borrowed by paying real cash. Preliminary reports claim the death toll to be anything in the region of 18,000 to 19,000.

A suicidal Farmville farmer from India
A suicidal Farmville farmer from India

“My pumpkins were supposed to harvest in the next one hour and it has already been nineteen hours since we lost internet connectivity. My entire fasal has been destroyed!!” rued Janet Singhania, wife of the deceased farmer Rahul, as she flashed a credit card statement. The couple had paid real cash to Farmville owner Zynga to buy coins, which they had financed through their credit card.

Others like Mrs. Kumar were still a little optimistic because she had a couple of days to harvest her potatoes and was sure that the maha-havan she had performed today would help restore the internet connectivity before the required time.

According to the reports, the suicide rate was highest amongst the small and medium farmers, who ended their lives to escape facing jibes from their Farmville neighbors apart from being ridiculed on pages and groups. Thousands of other farmers had similar stories.

“Indian Farmville farmers have traditionally depended upon timely arrival of internet connection. If there is any late arrival or if the speed is slow and irregular, crops suffer. This government has failed to make alternative arrangements and the farmers are completely at the mercy of internet service providers.” Mr. Swaminathan, an agricultural expert said.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has expressed shock and disbelief at the news. But he clarified that it would be impossible to provide another relief package to the farmers, especially with elections not due for another four years.

When asked by when the farmers could expect the internet connections to be restored, Mr. Pawar denied any knowledge, adding that he was not any Jyotishi who could predict such providential events. But his Jyotishi remark has created a controversy.

“If a Jyotishi can provide an answer then let Pawar resign and make way for some Jyotishi.” said an angry farmer, as the comments were widely criticized by political parties as well as academicians. Stung by the criticism, the government has decided to launch a probe to ascertain the role of Zynga and the Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Meanwhile, taking advantage of the situation, some software engineers have created a facebook global-warming application and attributed the crop failure to it. Most of the Indian farms are located on facebook.

(the author also writes at BigFishMag)