UP: Crop Loss Due to Heavy Rains Drives Farmers to Suicide in Firozabad, Barabanki
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: PTI
Lucknow: With less than normal rains during monsoon and excess rainfall after it, a large number of farmers in Uttar Pradesh are staring at heavy losses and an uncertain future this year as floods have devastated vast swathes of cropland.
According to India Meteorological Department (IMD) data, 67 of the 75 districts in the state recorded excess rainfall last week (after September 30).
The excess rainfall led to waterlogging in cities and towns across the state but proved worse for farmers, inundating fields and causing damage to standing paddy, maize and newly cultivated potato crops. Millets like bajra and pulses like urad have also been affected.
Five farmer suicides were reported from across the state following massive crop destruction in unseasonal rains.
On Saturday, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar admitted that unseasonal rains had damaged crops and the Centre was waiting for inputs from states to assess the extent of damage.
"Definitely, crops have been damaged due to the unseasonal rains. The survey is underway and we are waiting for reports from the states to assess the extent of damage," Tomar told reporters, according to PTO.
He also said that minimum support price (MSP) of rabi crops will be announced very soon, he added.
Meanwhile, UP government’s preliminary estimates said crops on over two lakh hectares were damaged in unseasonal rains. Balrampur and Bahraich had suffered major damage. The final figure might be much higher than the estimates.
Ghanshyam, 27, a native of Firozabad, who had taken loan of Rs 70,000 for farming paddy and millet crops on 4-5 bighas of shared land, died by suicide by hanging himself at home, after his standing crop got damaged during unseasonal rains.
A preliminary probe and statements by his family members indicate that Ghanshyam had cultivated paddy and millet. Following incessant downpour, the crop field was inundated and the entire crop started rotting. He went to the field to drain out the water, but in vain.
Since then, Ghanshyam had been depressed as he had borrowed money to sow the crop, said his wife Sowa, in her statement to the police. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, and a nine-month-old son.
Vivek Rajput, Firozabad Sub-Divisional Magistrate, told NewsClick: "Ghanshyam was a landless farmer who used to cultivate by taking land on rent. He was upset after all his crops were damaged due to excess rain panicked about the loan he had taken from the bank." He said the administration would compensate him.
Intermittent rains for the last one week also shattered the dreams of Maya, a 60-year-old farmer, whose paddy crop in about 4-5 bighas has been completely damaged.
"My mother had sown paddy on 4-5 bighas and had taken land on lease. Due to untimely rains, our crop was damaged. She was upset and killed herself. My mother was the sole breadwinner of the family,” Shiv Prasad, the deceased's younger son told NewsClick. He recently lost his father.
On crop loss due to rains, Naveen, a potato grower, told NewsClick: "We sow the early potato varieties by the end of September. But this year, around seven hectares of our potato farm has been affected by heavy rains. The fields are water-logged and sown potato is rotting,” adding that if excess rains continue, it would be harder to sow the late variety of potatoes.
"My standing crop of paddy has fallen to the ground due to heavy rains. I fear that at least half of my crop has been destroyed, and all of it will be lost if the weather doesn't improve in the coming days," Ram Viram in Barabanki told NewsClick.
As per reports, a 35-year-old farmer allegedly died by suicide by hanging himself in Barabanki region after his crop was washed away due to recent heavy rains.
Family members of Ghanshyam Verma, who had grown paddy on 1.5 bigha of farmland, said he had gone to assess the condition of his crops last Sunday morning and returned depressed after seeing the extent of damage. He later hug himself to death using his wife’s saree.
"My husband had a debt of about Rs 50,000. Now neither farming is left nor my husband… what will we do now? How will I take care of my two daughters and my 70-year-old mother-in-law? Due to the rains, our lives have been ruined," said his wife Poonam.
Prem Singh, an agricultural expert in drought-prone Bundelkhand, told NewsClick, "The situation of farmers in Uttar Pradesh is much worse than coronavirus. Most of the farmers were only able to cultivate half of the paddy than previous years due to less rainfall. Almost all the farmers have been hit by the weak monsoon this year. Those with small land holdings have been hit worse."
Meanwhile, officials at the district level are conducting surveys on the direction of the state government to assess the damage caused due to heavy rains across Uttar Pradesh. However, farmers claimed nothing has reached the ground.
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