Two marginal farmers have committed suicide in villages of the district in the last two days. Farmer Charan Singh, 45, a resident of Kotdharmu village, committed suicide by hanging himself at his house here on Monday afternoon.
According to his relative Ranjit Singh, the victim had taken 1.5 acres of land on lease at a rate of Rs 45,000 per acre. “Due to whitefly attack on the cotton crop, he incurred huge loss and was reeling under a debt of around Rs 1.5-2 lakh borrowed from moneylenders. He used to say in his peer group that he would end his life due to the mounting debt,” he said.
While his two sons were out in the fields, Charan Singh hanged himself at his house in the afternoon. An FIR under Section 174 (inquest proceedings) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) was lodged at Kotdharmu police station. The victim is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.
In a similar case, a day before his court hearing in a case registered by the moneylender for not clearing his debt, 43-year-old Darshan Singh, a resident of Kotli Kalan village, committed suicide on Sunday morning by consuming pesticide. Darshan’s family claims that he was fighting a legal case filed against him by the moneylender only because he could not clear his debt.
“A moneylender from the neighbouring town of Talwandi Sabo had lent some money to Darshan around three years ago. We were struggling to clear the debt and then the moneylender filed a case,” said Darshan’s father Magar Singh.
Upset over the scheduled court hearing on Monday, Darshan consumed pesticide on early Sunday morning. Speaking to HT, his daughter Kamaljeet Kaur, who has done a masters degree in political science, appealed to the government to waive off the loan amount. “He remained upset after the damage to cotton crop grown on 10 acres of land. He had attempted suicide on several occasions in the past due to the pending debt. Unfortunately, this time, we could not save him,” said Kamaljeet Kaur.
Meanwhile, deputy commissioner (DC) Varinder Kumar Sharma has assured both the families of delivering the due compensation if the cases are found to be genuine.
“I appeal to the farmers and the aggrieved families that the administration will ensure that their issues are resolved in time and they should not take the extreme step,” he said. HT has also found that despite clear instructions from the state government, most of the suicide affected families have not even received counselling from either the revenue or the agriculture department.
“We are aware that the government has a policy of compensation to families of farmers killed in suicide but we don’t even know how to avail this benefit. The nambardar concerned has not even detailed anything about this,” said Darshan’s family members.