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UP: Far From Doubling Income, Suicide Woes Shadow Engulf Farmers

The Centre has on many occasions announced to double the farmer’s income but the reality on the ground paints a different picture. Suffocated under a cycle of debt, some of them are allegedly taking the extreme step.

Ram Ruchi’s House

Banda: Ram Ruchi was just 22 at the time of his death. A young farmer from Majra Pandin village in Banda district hanged himself to death on the ill-fated day of October 7, 2021. According to Ram Ruchi’s elder brother, the young farmer was depressed due to crop loss and increasing debts.

Sitting on a charpoy under a neem tree Ram Swaroop is trying to console his elderly mother who is grieving the death by suicide of her youngest son.

Ram Swaroop says, “We have a divided family and my younger brother was living with the parents after getting the share in the property. Ram Ruchi was under mental stress owing to the rising debts. He had a loan of about Rs 30,000 from the local money lender which he took at 10 per rate of interest per month. The loan was taken after crop loss to run the family and also for the medical expenses.”

“I am not very sure but that day my father had a heated discussion with Ram Ruchi over the loan because moneylenders came on the door asking for the interest. Later, my brother went to the room on the terrace and hanged himself to death.”

The grieving elder brother says that everyone knew that his brother suffered a crop loss and was under stress but no one neither in the family nor in the village thought that he would end his life.

Ram Ruchi did not leave any suicide note behind him but his old age father regrets reprimanding his son on the day for growing debts. Ram Swaroop says, “Everyone in this village has taken some kind of debt because there is no profit in farming. Our paddy got destroyed by the untimely rain last season and now the mustard crop was eaten away and damaged by the stray cattle. Small farmers cannot afford to fence their fields.”


Ram Ruchi's Mother.

Ram Gopal Pandey, a farmer hailing from the same village says that farmers in the region are facing a lot of problems due to which they are at loss.

“Untimely rain, expensive diesel, loans for farming and the problem of stray cattles have been killing the farmers. The embarrassment the farmers face when recovery agents come to collect the loan money is another factor which has been adding stress on the farmers,” he said, adding, “Farmers have been applying for the loan waiver but not everyone’s loan has been waived in the village”.

The irony of this situation is how on many occasions, the powers-that-be in New Delhi have promised to double the farmer’s income in the last seven years.


Pramod Patel’s wife Prema distributed sweets when her husband brought a tractor home. The tractor was purchased on a loan of Rs 5 lakhs. Today, Rs 3.35 lakhs are yet to be paid and there is no one to pay the loan amount now because Pramod Patel ended his life on November 15 by hanging.


Pramod Patel's Wife.

Prema, the mother of three daughters and son says that her husband was worried because he missed two instalments of the tractor and he ended his life.

“Post his death we stopped consuming milk. People have come to recover the loan money twice and we are yet to sow our 9 bigha of land,” Prema tells this reporter.

On being asked how she will repay the loan of the tractor Prema said, “I am not very sure. Survival has been tough and it is (becoming) tougher now. We will face whatever comes our way. I have two unmarried daughters, a son, an elderly father-in-law and a handicapped brother-in-law to take care of,” she said, adding, “Our farms are also mortgaged and our financial situation is critical. It would be good if the government can waive our loan and help us with a job.” Prema’s brother-in-law is disabled and is a migrant labourer.


Pramod Patel's Daughters

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data there has been an increase in the suicide cases amongst farmers and agriculture labourers. In 2020, a total of 10,677 people from the agriculture sector took the extreme step, out of this 5,579 are farmers while 5,098 are agriculture labourers.


Pramod Patel's Mother.

Besides inclement weather conditions which have hit the farmers in the Bundelkhand region the problem of stray cattle or Anna pashu has added woes. The state of Uttar Pradesh has about 1.16 million stray cattle as per the 2019 livestock census and out of which 750,000 were either kept in Gaushalas (cow shelter) or adopted. The state currently has 5,384 cow shelters which are housing over 650,000 stray cattle. The government of Uttar Pradesh in the last week of November also announced to get the rest of 400,000 cattle adopted in the next two months because the farmers have been complaining about crop loss due to this problem.

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