Poverty-stricken farmers continue to die in Madhya Pradesh


When Lalan Yadav of Damoh district in Madhya Pradesh on Friday committed suicide by pouring Kerosene and setting himself on fire in his field, his death became yet another stistics in the growing list of debt-ridden farmers who are finding it increasingly difficult to deal with the crisis.

Another farmer who found the crop loss was too much for him to bear was Surender Lodhi in MP’s Sagar city. He had taken a loan before sowing his crops. But after his crops were ruined this season due to scanty rains, his hope to repay the loan lay shattered. He hanged himself to death.

Hardly any day passes when there is no report of a farmer committing suicide in the state. According to a data, 4-5 farmers commit suicide in MP everyday.

A number of farmers in different parts of Madhya Pradesh are today faced with a life they cannot comprehend. They say they have suffered loss of crops, and received no relief — barring through the embrace of death.

Farmers contend that the leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party make big promises of helping them but nothing happens in reality. Besides, many politicians make such hurtful statements after visiting them that it appears they are making a mockery of the farmers’ plight.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has assured all possible help for the farmers, but assistance or debt relief is yet to come.

“Due to dismissive attitude of the government towards farmers’ plight, these people are compelled to commit suicides,” Congress leader Ajay Singh said.

Badal Saroj of the Communist Party of India-Marxist here says: “The reason behind rising number of farmers’ suicides is that the person (Shivraj Singh) who claims being son of a farmer does not understand the agony of farmers.”

Aam Aadmi Party’s spokesperson Alok Agarwal said the assurances of relief given to farmers sound fraudulent. Farming has turned a loss-making business as farmers fail to recover even the basic in-put costs and their debt keeps on rising.

“The government should fix price of crops one and half times the cost calculated as per Swaminathan Committee’s recommendations. Effort should be made to reduce farmers’ debts,” he added.

As many as 141 tehsils (sub-districts) have been declared drought-affected in the state. The Madhya Pradesh government has sought Rs.15,000 crore help from the central government, which is yet to come, officials say.