While the number of suicides by farmers in Uttar Pradesh as a result of crop loss following unseasonal rain and hailstorm is yet to be officially declared, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has directed the District Magistrates to visit the spot on getting information about the same. They have also been directed to find out the “exact” reasons of the suicide and submit their reports to the Government at the earliest.
Mr. Yadav’s directives were issued on Friday in the wake of reports of suicides. While the official figure is not known, the farmers in the Bundelkhand region have bore the brunt of rain and hailstorm with reports claiming that several farmers have committed suicide in March . The Chief Minister, in his reply on the State Budget in the Assembly on Thursday, acknowledged that farmers of Bundelkhand were the worst-hit.
According to official sources, 31 districts of the State, including Mahoba, Chitrakoot, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Kanpur Dehat, Rae Bareli, Banda, Auraiya, Firozabad, Agra and Farrukhabad have been hit by the natural disaster with Rs. 200 crore announced by the Chief Minister for relief and rehabilitation measures. A total loss of about Rs. 742 crore has been assessed in the wake of the unseasonal rain and hailstorm. The State has urged the Central Government to send a team for making an assessment of the crop loss in the affected districts.
Meanwhile, there seems to be no respite for farmers from the unseasonal rain accompanied by hailstorm. Wheat, pulses and mustard crop in Bargadwa and Parsamalik villages is reported to have been destroyed in hailstorm which hit Maharajganj district in Eastern Uttar Pradesh on Friday. With the Met office forecasting rain and hailstorm in the next couple of days more misery lay in store for the farmers.
An official spokesman said the Chief Minister was concerned at the loss to crops and the untimely death of farmers who could not bear the prospect of losing their crops to rain and hailstorm. While, Rs. five lakh was given as financial help to the next of the kin of the deceased farmers, Mr. Yadav announced in the Assembly on Thursday that an additional Rs. two lakh would be given to the affected families.
In addition to the financial help, the recovery of land dues and other debts have been suspended with immediate effect.
Mr. Yadav has further directed that officials of the rank of principal secretary should be given the responsibility of distributing relief money to the farmers of the 25 districts where the damage to crops has been the maximum, the spokesman added.