In this poll season, farmer suicides and loans have been one of the major poll planks on which many parties are campaigning and hoping to win votes especially in rural areas.
But no one is discussing about debts of marginalised labourers, who too are burdened with payments of loans.
Wazira Khan, 65, a cow dung picker, lives alone in her nearly empty house at Sultanpur village in Dhuri constituency. She lost her husband and 22-year-old son to cancer a few years ago.
“My son was engaged and we were about to get him married but suddenly he fell ill and doctors informed that he is suffering with cancer and after a short period, he died. It was the beginning of the bad phase of my life,” she said.
Her son died six years ago and soon after his death, Wazira’s husband was too detected with the cancer.
Wazira said her husband used to be in so much in pain due to the terminal illness that one day he hanged himself when she had gone outside for work.
“I worked at several houses to pay for the treatment but everything went in vain. Now, I have to pay for the debt but don’t know how much it is,” she said, while sitting on the floor in a nearly empty house. “I can’t pay for my debt. I hope the next government waive off my debt like they do for farmers,” she added.
Similarly, near her home Kirnajit Kaur, 28, lives. She is suffering with breast cancer and is in the same profession. She has two sons, who are five and eight years old. Her husband is a farm labourer. The family is under around Rs 50,000 debt and unable to get treatment.
“The doctors always demand high fee and refer costly tests. So I decided to take medicines from Gurudwara priest at free of cost,” said Kiranjit.
The youth club members arrange blood for her after every six months.
Widow Bant Kaur, 60, a resident of Namol village in Sunam segment, lives with her 22-year-old widow daughter-in-law along with two grandchildren and cleans the dung of 10 houses. His son, Kala, 24, died after getting seriously injured at a construction site where he worked as a labourer.
“Now we are under debt of Rs 70,000; we have mortgaged our house. During his treatment, we approached various politicians but they did not pay any heed. Despite this being a poll season, no one came to our house to assure us of any help. Indeed poor labourers’ debt does not matter to them, they talk only about farmers’ debt,” Bant told.