Red tape can slow a country’s progress, and at times – as this septuagenarian farmer in Madhya Pradesh realised to his detriment – even kill.
The tragedy occurred while Mula Vishwakarma, a 75-year-old farmer from Pipria village in Satna district, was shuttling between the Shahnagar tehsil headquarters and a bank on Thursday afternoon to procure Rs 2,000 in compensation against his drought-affected field. He had reportedly fallen ill after sleeping in the intense cold under the open sky at the tehsil headquarters on Wednesday night.
Vishwakarma had reportedly gone to enquire if he would get any compensation from the state government for the two-three acres of agricultural land he owned at Daupura village in Shahnagar tehsil. As per the police report, the farmer had been camping at the tehsil headquarters along with his daughters for the last two days. However, revenue officials told him that he would get the money only if he held a bank account.
The elderly farmer explained that he did not have a bank account, and he would face a lot of difficulties in opening one, but to no avail. Faced with little choice, Vishwakarma went to a nearby bank on Thursday morning, and then again in the afternoon. However, he fell violently ill sometime then and had to be taken to the district hospital – where he died.
When asked to comment on the issue, Panna collector SNS Chouhan said the rules stipulate that farmers have a bank account in order to claim compensation.
Sahnagar station officer AS Danghi said the body had been sent for a post-mortem examination and the report was awaited. Perhaps due to his old age and winter he was taken ill and died.
Recently at Raipura village in Panna district a farmer Hira Singh Lodhi (50) had attempted suicide after police had lodged a case against him and two others in connection with their altercation with a woman patwari and his husband. The farmer was upset on not seeing his name in the list of farmers who were supposed to get compensation against damaged crops.