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UP: Two Farmers die by Suicide After Stray Cattle and Excess Rain Destroy Crop

Already ensnared in debts, farmers are pushed to the brink by unexpected crop losses.
Stray Cattles

File Photo.

Lucknow: Dejected over the extensive destruction of crops by stray cattle, a 47-year-old farmer allegedly died by suicide on Monday in Gahra village, under the Karbai police station in Uttar Pradesh's Mahoba district. 

The deceased, Pappu Ahirwar, had sown groundnut in nearly four bighas of land and expected a good yield. However, due to excessive rainfall, he had to spend extra on irrigation. On Sunday, he found that his field was fully damaged by stray cattle. His brother Kishori Lal said Pappu was already in some debt. On Monday, Pappu died by hanging himself from a tree.

 He is survived by five young children, including two unmarried daughters.

Circle officer Karbai Vinod Kumar Prajapati said, "The autopsy report has suggested the cause of death as hanging. The family claimed that the victim killed himself and no complaint has been lodged in this case."

Kishori Lal, the deceased’s brother, told NewsClick, "My brother Pappu had severe financial difficulties. He was in debt of around Rs 70,000. The family of six, including wife and five children, were all dependent on him. He was unable to bear the crop loss caused by stray cattle and died by suicide. We want the government to provide suitable compensation to his family."  

Another relative, Bhurelal, said, “Last year, Pappu had suffered losses in the sesame crop. He had planned to pay the pending loan from the earnings of the groundnut crop this year. Damages caused to the crop by the stray animals made him lose hope. The inefficiency of the authorities to check stray animal menace resulted in Pappu’s death.” NewsClick has earlier reported on the problems caused by stray animals in the state.

Mukut Singh, state general secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), said, “Farmers are already suffering from a financial crisis as they are not able to get suitable prices for their crops. Following negligence of the authorities, they are now left to suffer from crop loss due to stray cattle. It is the responsibility of the local administration and the animal husbandry department to make suitable arrangements for stray animals. But, so far, no major action has been taken. We want the chief minister to ensure relief to farmers from stray cattle menace.”

This is the second case of farmer suicide in the district in less than a month.

Durga, a resident of Gyodi village of Khanna police station area in Mahoba district, died by hanging himself after returning home from the field. The deceased had less than half an acre of land on which he had cultivated mustard.

According to some people from his village, Durga was very disturbed after the crops were destroyed in excessive rain, especially as the bank had already been pressuring him to repay the loan.

In another incident, 43-year-old farmer Rakesh, allegedly committed suicide on October 23 after he failed to repay the farm loan he had borrowed through a Kisan Credit Card in Uttar Pradesh's Hardoi district, his brother claimed.

The district administration has ordered a probe into the incident. However, the police are yet to issue a statement.

"The bank had recently served my father a notice asking him to repay the loan along with the accrued interest of Rs 1.5 lakh. However, as he was unable to pay it, he killed himself by hanging from a tree," Pradeep, the deceased’s son, told NewsClick.

It is a vicious cycle in the Bundelkhand region, especially in areas like Lalitpur, Mahoba, and villages around Banda. Scant rainfall and acute scarcity of water in the entire region have drastically reduced crop yield in the past few years. With hardly any money left, farmers opened Kisan Credit Cards in banks and took loans to buy seeds, fertilisers and tractors.

Commenting on the growing incidents of farmers’ suicides, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Naresh Singh told NewsClick, "Incidents like suicides by farmers are taking place on a daily basis, but very few of them are reported. The situation in Bundelkhand region is not any less than Maharashtra's Vidarbha. What happened to the claims about the higher agriculture growth rate; providing farm loans at zero percent interest rate?...Everything is hollow and an attempt to gain publicity.”

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