After a debt-ridden greenhouse farmer, Kushal Singh Chandel, immolated himself on June 24, another financially-stressed farmer has sought President Pranab Mukherjee's help.
Madan Lal Sharma,a resident of Samoh village has written a letter to the President, pointing out that by borrowing `8 lakh on loan from the State Bank of India under 33:67 scheme of the Centre, he had established a 1,000 square-meter greenhouse in July 2008.
However, despite putting all sincere efforts into the project, it could not take off as expected.
He wrote that he had already returned `6.5 lakh till May 2013 but was yet pay over `5.65 lakh."My entire project is destroyed and has dragged me into desperate circumstances. I am left with no option but to go for collective family suicide," wrote Sharma.
In response to Sharma's letter, the President, on July 17, directed the state government to pursue the matter and then apprise him with action taken reports. Sounding an alarm bell, the additional chief secretary (agriculture) directed the horticulture and agriculture departments to come up with the necessary steps after investigating the matter minutely and to take cognisance with immediate effect.
Another debt-ridden farmer Ramakrishna also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narender Modi, urging him to extend a helping hand towards greenhouse farmers who were mentally-stressed due to the failure of the greenhouses in the state.
He said bankers were forcing farmers despite the fact that they were charging commercial rates of interest on agriculture produce.
Green Growers Kishan Vikash Samiti general secretary Sandeep Sankhyan said that the horticulture department had instigated farmers to set up greenhouses without carrying out proper homework.Maximum number of farmers who had set up their greenhouses under the National Horticulture Mission are on the verge of starvation.
At present, over 1,700 farmers, who had opted to set up green houses under the National Horticulture Technical Mission, are reeling under a collective debt of `100 crore. In Bilaspur district alone, over 450 farmers are on the bankers default loan clearing payment scanner.
Against the defaulters, the bankers have been pressing hard for the repayment and cases are being registered with the debt recovery tribunal at Chandigarh.