In Haryana, wheat farmers done in by unseasonal rain

"At least 50 deaths of farmers either by suicide or cardiac arrest have been reported and government has done nothing about it."

Updated - November 16, 2021 05:07 pm IST

Published - April 28, 2015 02:09 am IST - NEW DELHI/SONEPAT:

The Haryana government has done nothing for thefarmers who have either committed suicide or diedof cardiac arrest, says a farmers’ organisation. Inthe picture above, a farmer stands amid hisdamaged wheat crop. Photo: Vidya Venkat

The Haryana government has done nothing for thefarmers who have either committed suicide or diedof cardiac arrest, says a farmers’ organisation. Inthe picture above, a farmer stands amid hisdamaged wheat crop. Photo: Vidya Venkat

Brown, damaged wheat fields is all one gets to see in Sonepat district of Haryana. In at least six villages The Hindu surveyed, deaths of farmers, either by suicide or cardiac arrest, have occurred following the shock of crop loss due to unseasonal rain. Yet, last week in the Lok Sabha, when the issue of farmers’ distress dominated Parliament, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh claimed that no farmers’ suicide had been reported from the State.

“Spray did him in”Usko sapray chad gaya tha (The spray did him in).” That is how Jagdish Mor of Baroda village describes the death of his 27-year-old son Bijender Mor on March 9. The post-mortem report issued by the medical college in Khanpur notes that the death was caused by pesticide poisoning. Unfortunately for Bijender’s family, there were no eyewitnesses or suicide notes. But his father says that Bijender had been worried for several days as his wheat crop had been destroyed due to unseasonal rain.

“He had taken land on lease at Rs. 40,000 per acre and owed a debt of Rs. 9 lakh to the aadti ( middlemen) who purchased grains from him, and loans taken on kisan credit card,” he said. “In 2014, Bijender sustained heavy loss in cotton farming,” he said. Bijender is survived by his 22-year-old wife and a five-year-old daughter.

Another case of suicide was that of Yudhvir, son of Ram Singh, at Riwada village in Gohana tehsil, on April 16. His brother, Jagbir, a former BSF jawan, told The Hindu that after his wheat crop failed, he consumed poison. A first information report and post-mortem report confirm the same. Yudhvir owned two acres and had taken another six acres on rent and his total debt amounted to Rs. 3 lakh. His brother said that nobody from the district administration had visited them nor offered any help so far. He is survived by a wife, son and two daughters.

The Hindu also interacted with the family of Balwan, 59, from Katwal village of Gohana tehsil, who suffered cardiac arrest on April 8. His brother said after seeing his eight-acre wheat farm destroyed by rain, he suffered a heart attack and threw up. He is survived by a wife and six children. Though local revenue officials visited them to assess crop damage, no relief money has reached them yet. Another death by cardiac arrest was of Kedar Singh, 55, from Juan village, on April 17.

Rajiv Rattan, Deputy Commissioner, Sonepat, told The Hindu that the administration had identified 44,000 acres of crop loss, pegged at Rs. 43 crore. He said funds for the distribution of relief had not been received yet. Jhajjar district Deputy Commissioner Anshaj Singh told The Hindu that an initial assessment of rabi crop damage in their district has revealed that a total of 36,202 acres had been damaged. He said three cases of death by cardiac arrest of farmers, following crop loss, has also been received.

“In Haryana, at least 50 deaths of farmers either by suicide or cardiac arrest have been reported and the government has done nothing about it,” S.N. Solanki, State vice-president of the All India Kisan Sabha, said.

He demanded a State compensation scheme for these farmers to help their families tide over the crisis.

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