Bhopal: Pyarelala Yadav, 60, a farmer and resident of Chandeli Toriya village of Madhya Pradesh’s Niwari district received an electricity bill of Rs 19,000 with a confiscation notice on September 2. The Electricity Department’s notice dropped like a bombshell on Yadav. The farmer, who was worried over repaying a debt of Rs 1.52 lakh which he had taken for the season after his crop failed due to excessive rainfall, had his hopes pinned on the crop insurance payment promised by the state government.
Yadav had taken a loan of Rs 92,000 from Gramin Bank and Rs 60,000 from a relative for the season. In his 15 acres of land, he had sowed multiple crops and hoped for profit. But, the confiscation notice by the Electricity Department proved as the final nail in the coffin and he hanged himself on September 4 at his own farm land, according to Niwari Police.
Just like Yadav, six other farmers have committed suicide in the state in the last week after unprecedented rain ruined the ready-to-harvest crops.
Another 30-year-old farmer, Maan Singh of Agar-Malwa district, died in a bank’s queue on September 8. He had gone to withdraw money at the bank when he died of cardiac arrest on the cash counter, said Agar-Malwa Police.
Out of the eight suicides, three cases have been reported from Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s home district, Sehore.
Two farmers – Babulal Verma, 55, a resident of Gudbhela Napli under Mandi Police Station and Ramesh Malviya of village Kurli Kala in Jawar tehsil of Sehore district died of suicide on September 2 and 3.
In a video making the rounds on social media, Malviya’s son and mother can be seen claiming that the farmer was depressed since the crop in his farm was damaged completely in the recent rainfall and he was under pressure farm and other loans.
In Verma’s case, while his nephew had said that the farmer was depressed due to crop damage, the deceased farmer’s son has claimed that his father was ailing and mentally not very stable. The videos of all these claims were uploaded by Congress leaders and CM Chouhan himself on social media.
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On September 5, Balbir Lodhi, 35, a farmer from Dangarwara village in Shamsabad tehsil of Vidisha district allegedly hanged himself. Even though he did not own any land in his name, he used to help his mother on a four bigha farmland. Balbir had a loan of Rs 4.5 lakh and he was upset after his soybean crop got damaged.
Santram Dhimar of Badiwada village in Chhindwara district died by suicide on September 3, but was reported on September 6. According to sources, the farmer owned 1.5 acres of land, but the sudden rise in water levels of Pench river damaged his crop. The farmer is also said to have taken loan from two self-help groups and his friends worth Rs 50,000.
In Dewas, 56-year-old farmer Laxman Singh Chouhan consumed pesticide on his farm in the morning of September 6, due to crop damage. The suicide by a 75-year-old farmer Himmat Singh of Mothar village in Seoni district was reported on September 7, which was later found to have occurred five days ago.
According to the latest National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) report, Madhya Pradesh has recorded 541 farmers’ suicide last year. The data reveals that the state has reported the fourth highest farmers’ suicides in India after Maharashtra (2,680), Karnataka (1,992), and Andhra Pradesh (1,029). Interestingly, the majority of farm sector suicides in MP were by farm labourers and not cultivators. Of 541 farm sector suicides in MP, only 142 were cultivators. This is different than the other five states which recorded high farm sector suicides.
Opposition Reacts to Farmers’ Suicides
Meanwhile, the reports of continuous suicides by farmers has elicited severe criticism from the Opposition Congress in the state where crucial by-polls on 27 seats are to take place in October later this year.
Former Chief Minister and chief of MP Congress Committee, Kamal Nath tweeted, “After Sehore, Niwari, Vidisha and Chhindwara, farmer brothers have died by suicide in Khategaon of Dewas and Bandol of Seoni due to crop damage and lack of compensation. When will the government wake up?”
Earlier, Nath had come down heavily on CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan for the death of three farmers at the CM’s home district. He had added that the CM was making shallow assurances to the farmers after visiting flood-hit areas when the farmers and people actually needed relief. Along with Nath, other senior leaders of the Congress have also launched a scathing attack on the BJP-led government’s failure to deal with the farmers’ issues.
The CM, however, has denied the allegations, claiming that the Congress is trying to cause confusion.