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2 UP Farmers Die by Suicide After Crop Damage Caused by Drought

Uttar Pradesh received only 170 mm of rainfall between June 1 and July 29, 50% less than the normal 342.8 mm.
farmer suicide

Lucknow: For a day, Pritam Ahirwar’s body was hanging at his house in drought-hit Bundelkhand’s Lalitpur district, in Uttar Pradesh (UP). After the stench reached the neighbouring hutments, locals found that the 25-year-old dalit farmer had killed himself. 

Ahirwar, a resident of Pah village, under Banpur Police Station, died by suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling using a saree. According to his family, he was a tenant farmer having 1.25 acres on which he sowed urad. 

“The land was useless because of perennial drought and hailstorms. He was a migrant labourer who went to Delhi for a job after sowing his crop. He was severely tense after the drought-induced crop loss and feared that he would be unable to repay the loan to a money lender. He committed suicide,” a family member told Newsclick

Lalitpur is among the 14 UP districts that received less rainfall this year with Pah not receiving a drop. 

This is the second suicide committed by a farmer within a week. A farmer from Mangalpur village, Kanpur Dehat, had committed suicide by hanging himself after being injured by a bull attack three days ago.

In the suicide note, the farmer, Chandrpal Singh, blamed money lenders for pressuring him to repay the loan he had taken for farming. The deficit rainfall destroyed the wheat crop on his six acres. He wrote to the lekhpal requesting a survey of the damaged crop but to no avail. Relatives said that Singh had mortgaged a bigha for Rs 60,000 to repay the loan.

“He was depending heavily on the crop to repay his loan but got depressed at seeing the prospect of the second crop of the year failing,” his younger brother Arvind said.

Such stories of rural distress are common across the Bundelkhand region, where farmers are fighting with their backs to the wall after a hailstorm, unusually warm winter and drought played havoc with crop yields.

According to the meteorological department, Bundelkhand, Kanpur, and eastern UP have received less rainfall this monsoon. The possibility of rain till September 30 is less. According to meteorologists, more crops will be damaged if the situation continues.

Several farmer unions have been demanding to declare Bundelkhand and eastern UP drought regions for the last month and compensate farmers. However, no relief package has been provided.  

A government official told Newsclick that the Centre has decided to assist Rs 100 crore to five districts of Bundelkhand—Banda, Chitrakoot, Jhansi, Jalaun and Mahoba. 

Apart from Bundelkhand, the eastern districts received 64.8% of rainfall in July. The situation is worst in Sant Kabir Nagar, Mirzapur, Kaushambi, Deoria, Mau and Kaushambi districts, which have received 60%-99% less rainfall than usual.

In a meeting chaired by chief minister Yogi Adityanath to assess the drought situation, officials said that 33 districts recorded rainfall up to 59% of normal while seven eastern districts, including Pilibhit, received up to 99% less rain. 

Relief department officials will review the situation every 15 days and take steps to declare drought in the state. Drought is declared when there is 50% less rainfall than usual for three to four weeks, officials said.

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