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Thursday, Oct 24, 2019

Despite debt-waiver scheme, 119 farm suicides in Punjab’s Sangrur in a year

The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU-Ugrahan), however, put the farm suicides cases to 179 in the district since Amarinder Singh’s government came to power in the state in March 2017.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2019 15:07 IST
Avtar Singh
Avtar Singh
Hindustan Times, Sangrur
Data from the district agriculture department reveals that 119 farmers committed suicide in Sangrur between April 2017 and March 2018.
Data from the district agriculture department reveals that 119 farmers committed suicide in Sangrur between April 2017 and March 2018.(Anil Dayal/ HT Photo)
         

Farmers in Punjab are continuing to commit suicide despite the debt-waiver scheme launched by chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

Data from the district agriculture department reveals that 119 farmers committed suicide in Sangrur between April 2017 and March 2018. From April 2013 to date, 665 farmer suicides have been reported. Of these 665 farmers who committed suicide, 195 had received financial support from the government.

The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU-Ugrahan), however, put the farm suicides cases to 179 in the district since Amarinder Singh’s government came to power in the state in March 2017.

BKU activist Sukhpal Singh Manak claimed that 50 debt-ridden farmers committed suicide across the state in March this year and 1,030 farmers ended their lives in Punjab during the present Congress regime.

The Congress government in Punjab came to power on the promise of waiving farmers’ debts within four months of being sworn in. The scheme was formally launched on January 9, 2018, when the CM handed over the farm loan waiver certificates to 10 farmers from five districts at a function in Mansa.

“The Congress government has done nothing during the past two years. Farmer suicides and unemployment still exist in Punjab,” said Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab chief Bhagwant Mann.

Congress’s Dhuri MLA Dalvir Singh Goldy said the Amarinder government had initiated debt-waiver scheme which is being implemented in a phased manner.

On Tuesday, when Congress president Rahul Gandhi was releasing the party manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls promising a separate “kisan budget” if voted to power, a 55-year-old farmer, Pritam Singh, from Takipur village of the district, committed suicide in his fields by consuming some poisonous substances. He was under a debt of Rs 8 lakh.

Villagers said bank officials used to call him to repay the loan, but he had no money to pay the instalment. “We have not spent money on luxury. We needed money for our livelihood and medical expenses. My husband could not pay the Rs 6,000 loan instalment before March 31,” said Pritam’s wife Rajwinder Kaur. Pritam is survived by his wife, two married daughters and two sons. The family owns 4.5 acres of land.

Under the state government’s debt-waiver scheme, the family received a meagre relief as Rs 30,000.

Another farmer of the same village Joginder Singh, 56, hanged himself on Monday as he was under a debt of Rs 25 lakh.

First Published: Apr 04, 2019 15:07 IST

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