States

7-day ultimatum to minister as one more farmer ends life

Congress claim its inquiry panels have found excessive debt behind suicides

Nagpur: One more farmer committed suicide in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday taking the total number of suicides to 11 in two weeks.

“Fuleshwar Paikara from Sitapur in Sarguja district killed himself due to excessive debt,” said Sanket Thakur, convener committee member of Chhattisgarh Kisan Mazdoor Sangh.

Agriculture Minister Brijmohan Agrawal on Tuesday refused to link these suicides to agrarian reasons inviting criticism from the farmers’ body and the opposition.

The Sangh, which held a meeting in Raipur on Wednesday, issued a seven-day ultimatum to the minister to visit the villages of all the suicide victims to find out if the reasons were non-agrarian.

“The government is showing apathy towards the farmers by refusing to acknowledge their suicides. The administrative machinery is busy in denying that these suicides took place because of agrarian reasons and debt,” the Sangh said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Congress on Wednesday claimed that all its investigation committees, formed to inquire into each suicide in two weeks, have concluded that all 11 farmers were reeling under excessive debt.

“The situation of the farmers went from bad to worse at the time of demonetisation. We demand that the family members of the farmers, who have committed suicide, should be given compensation of ₹1 crore. All the debts of the farmers and their electricity bills should be waived off and they should be given paddy bonus of the last three years,” said Chhattisgarh Congress spokesperson Bhujit Doshi.

However, BJP spokesperson Shivratan Sharma claimed that the government is providing zero% interest loans and 24-hour free electricity to the farmers. “The State is concerned about the issues of the farmers and we regret the untimely deaths. Proper action will be taken once the government’s inquiry into the suicides is complete,” said the spokesperson.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 2:12:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/7-day-ultimatum-to-minister-as-one-more-farmer-ends-life/article19166455.ece

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