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On day of House panel visit, another farmer kills self in Mansa

The victim, Ajmer Singh (45), who owned eight acres of land, was reportedly under a debt of Rs 11 lakh and killed himself by consuming a pesticide.

punjab Updated: Aug 18, 2017 20:42 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mansa
Farmer suicides,Punjab farmers,Mansa.
(HT Representative Image)

A five-member committee of the Vidhan Sabha led by Congress MLA Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria visited Mansa and met around a dozen suicide-hit families of farmers on Friday morning. Barely three hours before that, around 5.30 am, yet another farmer killed himself at Dalel Singh Wala village in the district.

The victim, Ajmer Singh (45), who owned eight acres of land, was reportedly under a debt of Rs 11 lakh and killed himself by consuming a pesticide. Inquest proceedings were initiated.

Meanwhile, the committee set up by assembly speaker Rana KP Singh to review farmers’ suicides in the state, including Congress’ Nathu Ram and Kuljit Singh Nagra, Aam Aadmi Party’s Nazar Singh Manshahia, and Shiromani Akali Dal’s Harinderpal Singh Chandumajra, said it will prepare a report on the overall issue to be tabled in the House in three months.

Interacting with the media at Kishangarh village, Sarkaria said the purpose of meeting farmers and their families was to seek their views in order to derive a solution to curb suicides. “It is our duty to bring farmers out of this distressing situation which pushes them to take the extreme step. We will visit most of the constituencies of the state to find the problems behind the suicide cases,” said Sarkaria.

However, he refused to dwell. “As the report has to be tabled in the assembly, here I will not be able to suggest which are the prime reasons that push farmers to suicide,” he said.

The committee members also clarified that the families for the meeting were chosen on random basis. It will hold similar meetings in Bathinda on Saturday.

Mansa under spotlight

In the past week, Mansa district and its farmers have remained in the spotlight. Last Friday, chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh visited two villages in the district to review the whitefly attack on cotton crop. Later, AAP MLA and leader of opposition in the state assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira visited the same villages and interacted with farmers. A few days later, SAD MP and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal visited cotton fields in Akanwali village and promised to send a team of experts from Delhi. On Thursday, the team of experts visited cotton fields in 14 villages. On Friday, the assembly panel came calling.

First Published: Aug 18, 2017 20:35 IST