Three varsities in the state - Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, Punjabi University, Patiala, and Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Amritsar, have each been granted Rs 10 lakh by the state government to carry out a state-level survey on farmer suicides. The varsities had been awaiting such funds since 2011.
Speaking to HT, Sukhpal Singh, head of economics and sociology department of PAU, Sharanjeet Singh Dhillon, registrar and former head of economics department, GNDU, and Inderjit Singh, head of economics from Punjabi University, who will mentor this survey said the three varsities and received the grant.
"We aim to document the other reasons for suicides rather than the commonly known debt and had been awaiting the money since March 2011. The survey will involve visiting every village and conducting personal interviews of residents in 12,500 villages," said Sukhpal from PAU.
From the GNDU, registrar Dhillon said, "We had never stopped the survey as we had Rs 3-4 lakh left from the previous such exercise. We have covered Tarn Taran and have just begun the survey in Amritsar. For this fresh survey, the budget for each varsity was Rs 30 lakh, of which rs 10 lakh have been given. The rest will come once this money is exhausted."
In the previous survey conducted by the varsities for the 11-year period from March 2000 to March 2011, 6,926 suicides had been recorded. Of these, 4,686 farmers were found to be under debt.