• Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Amid election extravaganza, cycle of farmer suicides continue to rust India's grain bowl

Ludhiana (Punjab) [India], Jan 30 : "My father was under debt, no leader came for help," says a tear eyed Gursevak Singh, the son of a Punjab farmer who committed suicide.

Gursevak's father, who was drenched in debt, committed suicide after his crops got damaged.

"My father committed suicide, he was under debt and succumbing to the tension of repaying the loan he took the decision of ending his life. No leader helped us," he says.

Ever since the death of the breadwinner of the family, the members remain to live in constant ordeal.

"Our crops got ruined and he was under debt. He used to remain in constant tension. In the end, he committed suicide. I am 10th passed. I had to leave my schooling, I want to study more," says the farmer's daughter Naseeb Kaur.

In his last days, he owed Rs. 2.5 lakh to the lenders and ended his life under stress.

"According to my information, he was under debt of 2-2.5 lakh rupees. He used to remain tense all the time. No party, no leader helped him. The leaders of various political parties come here and make fake promises and do nothing. Nobody has ever done anything," said a neighbour of the deceased.

Another local Kirandeep, whose father also committed suicide, recalls the ordeal.

"The people in my family started falling ill one after another and because of which my father slipped in to debt. My father had taken a lot of loan which he was not able to repay. And in the end, the crops got damaged and then he got broke," he says.

Punjab's farm suicide problem is usually overshadowed by states such as Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya which together see annual casualties in quadruple digits.

But in 2015, Parliament was informed that 449 farmers killed themselves in Punjab, making it second only to Maharashtra.

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Amid election extravaganza, cycle of farmer suicides continue to rust India's grain bowl

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