As Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to his radio show to assure farmers on Sunday, news of suicides in the community continued to pour in.
Rajasthan reported three cases in the last few days while there were two deaths each in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Two farmers died in Aligarh on Sunday, taking the toll in the UP district to 16. Recent unseasonal rain and hailstorms have reportedly ruined 60% of the rabi crop, with 52-70% damage to pulses.
Similarly, two farmers committed suicide and a third was critical after a failed attempt in Bhopal. Madan Lal, 55, found hanging from his ceiling last week, had suffered extensive damage to both his harvested and standing crops. To top it off, he had taken a loan of Rs 3.5 lakh. Banshilal Gupta, 45, ended his life by consuming poison. Jaipal Mehdele, 39, battling for his life in hospital, has to pay off a Rs 60,000 bank loan. He has also mortgaged his wife’s jewellery for Rs 50,000, police said.
In Rajasthan, Heeralal Vaishnav died of a heart attack in his field in Kota district on Sunday. Police said the 40-year-old had suffered extensive crop damage in the hailstorms. A day ago, the 19-year-old son of a farmer who lost his wheat crop was found hanging in a field in Bundi district. Another death in Kota, that of coriander grower Rameshwar Tiwari, 68, also trickled in.
The toll in the Hadauti region, comprising both Kota and Bundi, for just this past week now stands at 12. Congress president Sonia Gandhi had visited Kota on Friday.
The reports come a day after Maharashtra said farmer suicides had shot up 40% in the last seven months due to widespread drought followed by freak rain.
Earlier during the day, Modi appealed to farmers through his monthly radio address, “Mann ki Baat”, asking them to support the contentious land acquisition bill as he accused the Opposition of spreading rumours and false propaganda.
He also spoke about the losses farmers have suffered because of unseasonable rain while saying he had ordered officials to take stock of the situation and his government would do all it can to help the agriculturists in distress.
"The recent unseasonal rains in the states north of Maharashtra have caused problems and everywhere farmers are worried. Small farmers, who toil hard to grow crops to earn livelihood for the year, have lost everything," he said.
"In this hour of crisis, I am with you. All departments in my government are in touch with states to assess the situation minutely. Union ministers have also spread out to states to assess the damage," he added.
The Prime Minister said he has told states also that the Centre and states should collectively help these farmers as much as possible.
"I can assure you that, in this hour of crisis, the government will soon help you sympathetically. Whatever is possible, will be done," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)