JAIPUR: In Rajasthan, the chain of farmer suicides continues without an end in sight. The latest tragedy has been reported from Jhunjhunu district where 45-year old farmer Tarachand Meghwal hung himself to death at his home. Sadly, two of his sons and a daughter were to be married in the next few days but all the festivities turned tragic with Tarachand’s suicide, the third time a farmer has taken this extreme step in the last one month. It’s an indication that the Loan Waiver scheme announced by the Gehlot government is yet to cover numerous farmers in the state.
The financial health of Tarachand’s family was so weak that they were depending on help and loans from relatives to organise the weddings of his three children in Kolinda ke baas village. The police claim that Tarachand had take a forty thousand rupee loan from the Gram sewa sahkari samiti which had been waived off. Rampal Meena SHO, Bisau Police Station in Jhunjhunu says : “Tarachand now had no outstanding loans but his father who owns the family land had taken a loan of over 2 lakhs from the KCC. Even the installment on that loan that was due for payment in March this year is still outstanding.”
Tarachand’s two sons were to be married on 8th July while the Baraat for his daughter’s wedding was to come to their village on 9th July for which the farmer had been making preparations for weeks. The police are also probing if there was any dispute within the family which may have led to his suicide as the family was in severe financial stress and yet had to organise the weddings one after the other.
On July 2, in Rajasthan’s Baran district a farmer Arjun Khandar comitted suicide the incident took place in Mangrol town of Baran. Collector said, "He had taken a loan of Rs 90,000 from ICICI bank. He has a son and three daughters, his son was suffering from a disease and a daughter had mental problems, he was under stress due to family issues. Probe is underway in this regard."
Similarly, on 3rd July a farmer Netram Nath had committed suicide by consuming pesticides in his farmland in Raghunathpura village, Sri Ganganagar. He allegedly took this step as he was undergoing a major financial strain, said his family members.Netram used to receive frequent notices from Marudhara Gramin Bank branch in Vijaynagar. He was unable to repay the loan and was also going through a lot of mental stress due to the debt burden, claimed Netram's family members.
Likewise, in Baran district of the state, a farmer named Hazari Lal Gujjar had also recently committed suicide by consuming poison last month as he was reportedly unable to repay the ninety thousand rupee debt.
In a similar way, Sohan Lal Kadela a 45-year old farmer in the Ganganagar district of Rajasthan had committed suicide on June 23 due to his inability to repay his debt. A resident of Thakri village, Sohan Lal had consumed poison at his home and held the promise of the Congress Government's loan waiver scheme responsible for his death. A video and suicide note was found from him which blamed Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot for his suicide which triggered a protest of farmers in Sri Ganganagar.
The unending farmer suicides reveal how due to water scarcity, farming has become a loss-making enterprise in Rajasthan where 75% of agriculture is dependent on the monsoon though the state gets just 500 mm of rain annually. Of the total 236 blocks in the state, ground water has reached very poor levels in 140 blocks while it has reached a critical stage in 50 and alarmingly low levels in 14 others.
By promising a massive loan waiver for farmers the Congress had garnered lots of votes in the Assembly elections last year but though the Gehlot government has waived off loans of upto 2 lakhs for over 19 lakh farmers who took loans from Cooperative Societies, the problems of another 16 lakh farmers who took loans from private banks are yet to be resolved.