Rajasthan farmer commits suicide, gets loan waiver

The 37-year-old farmer of Charanwas village under Nawa tehsil hanged himself from the ceiling of his house on Sunday when he heard that the family land, measuring 2.5 hectare, will be auctioned

jaipur Updated: Aug 06, 2018 23:15 IST
Zakir Hussain
Zakir Hussain
Hindustan Times, Ajmer
Rajasthan News
Members of All India Kisan Sabha and villagers hold a protest outside a hospital in Nagaur on Monday demanding compensation for the farmer who killed himself on Sunday.(HT Photo)

In death, Manglaram Meghwal got what he couldn’t when he was alive: a partial waiver of his crop loan.

The 37-year-old farmer from Charanwas village in Nawa tehsil of Rajasthan hanged himself from the ceiling of his house on Sunday when he heard that the family land, measuring 2.5 hectares, will be auctioned on Tuesday August 7 because he failed to repay a loan amount of Rs 2.98 lakh to a nationalised bank.

A sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) had issued the Meghwals a notice for attachment of their agricultural land, allowing the bank to auction it.

After Meghwal’s death, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), the farmer organisation of CPI (M), his fellow villagers and younger brother staged a sit-in on Monday outside Kukarwali community health centre, 20 km from Charanwas, refusing to take his body for cremation until the bank waived off the loan.

Around 5 pm, the bank offered to waive off the loan’s interest amount and the district administration promised a government job to a member of his family and a house under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). The protesters and the family then agreed to take Meghwal’s body.

“They (bank authorities) also agreed that no farmers’ land will be auctioned for outstanding dues, putting them to stress that leads them to end their lives,” said AIKS president Amra Ram.

Meanwhile, SDM Nawa Ram Sukh Gurjar said the auction has been stayed.

“We have waived off the interest and penal interest and will forward to the board officials a proposal to waive the principal amount when we receive the death certificate from the family,” said Vijay Vyas, manager of Punjab National Bank’s Nagaur branch.

Meghwal and his three brothers borrowed Rs 2.98 lakh from bank’s Badalwas branch (in Sikar district – Charanwas is on the border of Sikar district) in July 2011. The account was declared NPA in March 2015 due to non-payment, said Ratan Lal Saini, deputy manager of Badalwas branch.

The family deposited Rs 20,000 in January 2016, Rs 15,000 in August (2016) and Rs 1 lakh in November 2017.

“This year, we offered them one-time settlement when the dues mounted to Rs 4 lakh but the family did not turn up,” said another bank official who didn’t want to be named.

“For four-and-a-half years, the family did not do any transaction in the account,” he said.

Charanwas village is part of Hudeel gram panchayat. Its sarpanch Kanaram Bijarniya said Meghwal went to the bank on August 4 to seek more time for repayment and to request postponement of the auction proceedings but the bank officials didn’t listen to him.

“He returned home in distress and ended his life that night,” the sarpanch said.

Meghwal is the third among four brothers. His elder brothers, Hardevaram and Prakash Chand, work in Qatar and Dubai as labourers to supplement family income. The youngest, Pooranram, lives with Manglaram in Nagaur village.

Meanwhile, a senior BJP leader and former state party president Ashok Parnami said that farmers are in debt trap today due to faulty policies of the Congress government for the past 50 years while the BJP has taken a number of steps for welfare of farmers during its four-and-a-half-year tenure.

Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot tweeted: “#Farmers in state are committing suicide n CM Smt. Raje is carrying out #RajasthanGauravYatra. Most heart wrenching to know that one more farmer ended his life so tragically in #Nagaur #Rajasthan due to debt burden. BJP govt has totally failed in providing any relief to farmers.”

In Jaipur, Congress leaders burnt the effigy of government to protest the farmer’s suicide.

First Published: Aug 06, 2018 22:44 IST