CHANDIGARH: He was the one who briefed Rahul Gandhi on the plight of farmers, when the Congress vice-president visited Sirhind in Punjab on April 28.
Just over a month after the meeting, Surjit Singh, 60, of Dadumajra village near Chunni Kalan in Fategarh Sahib is no more. Bowed down by crop loss and debt, Surjit committed suicide. Not to say, he was suffering from depression with a mounting debt of Rs 13.50 lakh.
While briefing Rahul, he had warned that many more farmers would commit suicide if their problems were not addressed immediately.
“My father consumed poison. We own six acres of land, but were tilling 19 acres on contract. Due to less production, we got nothing in return as all the amount was paid to clear dues of land owners. Our wheat crop was destroyed by unseasonal rain in March and April,” said Surjit’s son Kulwinder Singh.
Surjit left no suicide note behind. The police have sent his body for postmortem after an inquest.
As the news of Surjit’s suicide spread, Congress Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha and former Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh expressed shock over the incident.
“An agriculture emergency is the need of the hour, to tackle the agrarian crisis on an emergency basis,” he said.
Amarinder also blamed the state government and Centre for the plight.
“It is a tragic state of affairs for the farming community as a whole and death seems to be the only way out,” he said.
The crop in about seven lakh acres of land has been affected in Punjab.
Rahul, as he himself said, might have analysed the ground situation, but that has not changed the reality for Punjab’s sons of soil.