ANDHRA PRADESH

Farmer tries to end life in front of Central study team

TALE OF WOE: Siddaramappa Pujari (with khadi cap in centre) explaining his plight to the members of the Central study team near Devangoan Bridge in Gulbarga district on Friday.

TALE OF WOE: Siddaramappa Pujari (with khadi cap in centre) explaining his plight to the members of the Central study team near Devangoan Bridge in Gulbarga district on Friday.  

Insufficient compensation for sugarcane crop cited as reason for the step

Special Correspondent

GULBARGA: The five-member Central study team touring the flood-hit villages in Bijapur and Gulbarga districts were shocked when a farmer, who had lost his sugarcane crop in more than 10 acres in Guddewadi in Afsalpur taluk, took out a pesticide bottle and tried to swallow the pesticide in front of them.

The incident took place immediately after the arrival of the team members from Bijapur to Gulbarga in front Deputy Commissioner Anjum Parvez, Chief Executive Officer of the Zilla Panchayat M.S. Srikar, senior police officials and Afsalpur MLA M.Y. Patil.

Soon after the team was received at the Devangoan Bridge across the Bhima, the farmer, Siddaramappa Pujari, came to the central team members and explained to them his plight. He said that he had no alternative but to end his life since the compensation paid by the Government for the loss of crop is insufficient.

Even as the farmer broke open the seal of bottle and tried to consume the pesticide, the police personnel present grabbed the pesticide bottle from him. The team members told the farmer that ending one's life was not a solution to the problem.

Mr. Pujari said he had invested all his savings and purchased 20 acres of land along with his cousin and took up a joint cultivation of sugarcane and had so far spent Rs. 10 lakhs as the cost of the land and about Rs 2 lakhs for levelling it and purchase of seeds and fertilizer.

Apart from investing his hard earned savings, the farmer said that he had availed a loan of Rs 1.50 lakh from banks and another Rs 1.50 lakh from local moneylenders at an interest rate of 34 per cent a year.

Father of six children, Mr. Pujari said that it will not be possible for him to take up cultivation or repay the loans if the Government fails to provide actual loss suffered by him as compensation. He said his cousin, Mallappa Buthari, committed suicide as he could not come out of the shock of loss of standing crops and the fear of the moneylenders demanding the return of the money taken as loan.

Another farmer Subhas Hugar who also lost his sugarcane crop on the banks of the Bhima also committed suicide by consuming pesticide. Inquiries revealed that both these deaths have not been registered as unnatural death by the respective police stations as the relatives of the dead did not inform about the deaths to the police.

Similar stories of desperate farmers looking up to the State Government for adequate compensation could be heard in almost all the villages affected by the floods.

While the farmers who had taken up the crops such as red gram and sunflower and jowar have the hope of getting crop insurance for the lost crop, the farmers who had taken up sugarcane have no hope for getting the crop insurance money since the government and insurance companies have not included sugarcane in the insurance scheme.

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