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Farmer suicides in Punjab on the rise

April 27, 2016 03:55 PM

By Satinder Bains
CHANDIGARH: The cases of suicide by debt ridden farmers in Punjab is on the rise in the absence of any support from the Punjab Government. According to available figures as many as 93 farmers in Malwa region have committed suicides in first four months of this year(January 1 to April 27, 2016).

The present government led by Parkash Singh Badal was unable to extend any support to families of farmers reeling under debt. The civil and police administration is helping the financers in taking possession of the mortgaged land. The suicide by a farmer and his mother in Jodhpur village near Barnala is a classic example of nexus between police and commission agents/financers.

The father of Jodhpur farmer who committed suicide had taken a loan of Rs.1.80 lakhs in 2010 and family was not able to return the money. The amount had risen to Rs.15 lakhs in the last six years due to heavy interest rate. Teja Singh financer, a former policeman, who loaned the money had mortgaged two acres of land and obtained a decree from court to take possession of the land. The members of Bhartiya Kisan Union(Ugrahan) had assembled at the house of Baljit Singh to oppose the possession. The heavy police force led by Swaran Singh SP(Detective) arrested the BKU leaders and threatned the farmer who found helpless and committed suicide in front of police ande revenue officials.

Punjab Chief Minister had recently in a statement expressed helplessness in waiving the debt of farmers. Punjab Government had also passed a bill on debt waiver in the last Vidhan Sabha session which is yet to be passed by the Governor. The bill has provision of helping farmers who own debt of less than Rs.50,000.

Inderjit Singh Jaijee a human rights activist said that every month about 30 dead bodies of farmers are found in the Bhakra Canal near Khanuari and many dead bodies are thrown back into the canal without identification. He claimed that 60 percent of these bodies are of debt ridden farmers and no FIR is registered in these cases. Jaijee claimed 2000 farmers had committed suicides in last ten years.

The BKU sources have said that average 30 farmers are committing suicides every month in Punjab. The figure is higher than Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh but state government hides the number of suicides to stake claim for number one state in India. The population of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh is much higher and in terms of percentage, the number of suicides in Punjab is higher than these states.

As per available figures of 8 districts of Malwa belt, during last four months 27 farmers committed suicide in Bathinda district, 39 in Mansa, 12 in Sangrur, 3 in Ferozepur, 13 in Barnala, 2 in oga, 2 in Fazilka and one in Ferozepur. The number of suicides could be more as many cases go unreported. There is no data available for Majha and Doaba regions.

 

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