Telangana

Fortunes sink in borewell, farmer takes extreme step

Pochamma, whose husband had committed suicide, at Kondapur in Komuravelli mandal of Siddipet district.

Pochamma, whose husband had committed suicide, at Kondapur in Komuravelli mandal of Siddipet district.   | Photo Credit: MohdArif

Failed investments in agriculture push him into debt trap

Nagulapally Pochamma and her husband Balanarasiah used to have frequent fights on how judiciously to spend their money. While Pochamma felt that having a proper roof over the head was a priority so that they could spend the rest of their life in peace, Balanarasiah used to differ. Being a farmer, he thought it best to invest in their farm and got borewells dug. He hoped for a rich harvest and good returns on the investment. However, the repeated investments in borewells proved to be his nemesis. The borewells failed and he landed in a debt trap, ultimately taking the extreme step.

Balanarasaiah (48) ended his life at his farm on January 29 by consuming pesticide. Since 2013, Balanarasaiah had sold about three acres of land to repay his debts. He had hoped that Mother Earth would not fail him and sooner or later he would be blessed with sufficient water to cultivate his land. But that was not to be.

“My husband sold an acre of land for ₹ 50,000 in 2013 to repay loans and since then has been selling our land in bits and pieces. He used to take loans and dig borewells and then sell land to repay them. After some time an acre of land fetched ₹ 1 lakh and an open well was also dug, which too did not yield considerable water, thereby pushing us back to square one. Meanwhile, a tractor engaged for agricultural work toppled and resulted in the death of the driver. We had to pay that family a huge amount as compensation. This increased our debt burden,” Ms. Pochamma told The Hindu.

“I always argued with my husband over the repeated investments in borewells and insisted that we spend the money to build a house instead. But my suggestions were never taken seriously. The failed borewells in addition to crop loss forced him to take the extreme step,” she said, adding that at present they are left with 1.5 acres of patta land and one acre of poramboku land.

They had cultivated cotton and paddy which pushed them further into the debt trap. “Farmers always trust Nela Talli (Mother Earth) and even in their wildest dream can they ever think of being away from their land. The same farmers are forced to sell their land,” said Puli Raju, a government teacher, who has been documenting suicides by farmers since the year 2000 in the erstwhile Medak dsitrict.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 6:32:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/fortunes-sink-in-borewell-farmer-takes-extreme-step/article30813709.ece

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