400 farmers committed suicide in 6 years: Survey

Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23

Since 2009, 400 farmers have committed suicide in 90 villages of Sangrur region, as per a survey conducted by the Movement Against State Repression, headed by Inderjit Singh Jaijee, a former MLA.

Jaijee, who has been helping farmers for the past 20 years, said 36 farmers committed suicide this year. He also arranges funds for the families of debt-ridden farmers and farm workers, who killed themselves.

“We have taken affidavits on suicide cases from the village panchayats concerned. We want that the condition of getting a postmortem done in such cases be relaxed as it stresses the affected families,” he said. Jaijee said just an affidavit testifying the victim died due to debt stress should be enough to pay ex-gratia to the family concerned.

The data gathered by MASR has been provided to the Deputy Commissioner of Sangrur, Mansa and Patiala so that compensation could be provided to the victim’s kin sooner.

Among the villages where suicide cases have been reported are Akbarpur Khudal, Alampur, Andana, Bakshiwala, Bakhora Kalan, Bahadurpur, Baopur, Balran, Banarsi, Bhoolan, Chotian, Dudian, Dayalpura, Daska, Chular, Jawarwala, Jaloor, Kal Banjara, Kishangarh, Kulrian, Lehal Kalan, Moonak, Maniana and Sirsiwala.

The state government has asked Punjab Agricultural University, Punjabi University and Guru Nanak Dev University to conduct a fresh survey in all villages in the state to update data on suicide cases. The government has already released money for the purpose. Earlier, data was collected till 2010.
Most number of suicides was reported in Malwa due to repeated failure of crops. Cotton farmers have been hit hard due to the whitefly attack on their crop. “Suicide cases have been reported almost daily in Sangrur, Mansa and Bathinda,” said Jaijee.
He further said the compensation awarded to cotton farmers by the state government was not even enough to meet their expenditure.

Debt claims yet another life

Sangrur: A 48-year-old debt-ridden farmer allegedly committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance at Sultanpur village, near Sherpur, on Friday. The deceased has been identified as Baljinder Singh. Jagtar Singh, sarpanch, said Baljinder was under a debt of Rs 4 lakh. He said Baljinder himself informed his family that he had consumed celphos. He was taken to the Civil Hospital from where he was referred to Rajindra Hospital, Patiala. However, he died on his way to the hospital. — TNS

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