Sixth farmer commits suicide in Uttarakhand 

The BJP had promised loan waiver for farmers during the Assembly polls but it has gone back on its promise once in power

NH Photo
NH Photo

SMA Kazmi

A sixth farmer committed suicide in Uttarakhand in two months when the debt-ridden man in Tehri district of Garhwal region consumed poison on Saturday. This point towards the plight of farmers in the hill state.

Already five debt-ridden farmers had committed suicide, while another had died of heart attack. While five deaths were reported from Kumaon region, the latest death from Tehri was the first in the Garhwal region.

Raj Kumar (47), a farmer of Swadi village of Chamba block of Tehri district, is survived by his wife Roshni Devi and seven children namely Ajay, Udaiveer, Jaspal, Aarti, Asha, Sarita and Anita.

Roshni Devi said that her husband had taken two loans from the Uttarakhand Grameen Bank and another cooperative bank and was unable to repay the loans. She said that the officials of the bank had been pressuring Raj Kumar to repay the loans and had given him an ultimatum of four days.

Raj Kumar went missing from his home on Thursday morning and was found dead in a field, foaming from his mouth. He was taken to the nearest hospital where he was declared dead.

The BJP state government, after ruling out any loan waiver for farmers, finds itself in a bind. Interestingly, while the BJP had promised to waive off the loan of debt-ridden farmers during the state Assembly polls, it has gone back on its promise.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat had declared that the state could not afford a loan waiver for the farmers. After a spate of suicides, the state government had decided to go slow on recovery of cooperative loans given to farmers.

The state’s Cooperative Minister, Dhan Singh Rawat, had announced after the death of the fifth farmer a few days ago that the state government will not send notices to debt-ridden farmers and recovery of only principal amount would be made from the family members of the deceased farmers on easy installments.

The first suicide of a farmer was reported from Pithoragarh district, while the rest of the deaths were from Udham Singh Nagar district in Terai region, also known as the ‘grain bowl’ of the state.

A delegation of state Congress leaders went to the house of the deceased farmer in Chamba block of Tehri district and promised help. Uttarakhand Congress chief Pritam Singh, in a statement, condoled the death of the sixth farmer and condemned the attitude of the BJP state government in going back on its promise of loan waiver for farmers.

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