Debt-ridden Uttarakhand farmer commits suicide, CM Rawat orders probe

This is the second incident of a farmer taking the extreme step in the state within a span of ten days

india Updated: Jun 26, 2017 11:09 IST
Hindustan Times, Rudrapur
Farm crisis,Farmer suicides,Loan waiver
Number of suicides in the farming sector in the country has increased sharply amid demands for loan waivers by farmers. (AP File Photo )

A debt-ridden farmer from Uttarakhand’s agro belt of US Nagar district committed suicide, the relatives claimed on Sunday.

Ramavtar (42) of Haldi Pacheda village in Khatima area of the district was found hanging from a tree on Saturday midnight by relatives, who went to look for him as he did not return home from the field.

This is the second incident of a farmer taking the extreme step in the state within ten days. On June 16, a farmer in Pithorgarh committed suicide after he received recovery notice from the rural co-operative bank.

The number of farmers committing suicide in India has increased sharply over the years amid demands for loan waivers as fall in the prices of their produce and erratic monsoons play havoc with millions of farmers across the country.

In May Narendra Modi’s BJP-led central government told the Supreme Court that despite a multi-pronged approach to improve income and social security of farmers, over 12,000 suicides were reported in the agricultural sector in India every year since 2013.

Various studies point out that most of these farmers ended their lives because of bankruptcy or debts.

Ramavtar had taken loans from two banks, his brother Anant Ram said. Recently he received notices from the State Bank of India for the recovery of the loan amount of Rs 1.97 lakh and from Bank of Baroda’s Nanakmatta branch for recovery of R 1.23 lakhs, he added.

“Bank official used to visit our place frequently and even threatened to auction our land to recover dues. The visits left my brother stressed. We requested the bank officials to give us one-week time to repay. But they were reluctant” Anant Ram told HT over phone.

Anant said their four brothers jointly own 2.5 acres of land.

Farmers of US Nagar district too have been demanding loan waiver and also held a protest last week to press for their demand.

Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Rawat in a series of tweets on Sunday evening, however, suggested loan waiver was not a viable solution.

He ordered a magisterial probe into the farmer’s death.

District Magistrate Neeraj Khairwal said sub divisional magistrate of Khatima has been asked to conduct the probe and submit a report within 10 days.

Meanwhile, opposition Congress has trained guns at the government for ignoring farmers’ plight.

First Published: Jun 26, 2017 11:09 IST