JAIPUR: Rajasthan deputy CM Sachin Pilot's statement on a farmer, who committed suicide, that he was not in debt has intensified the issue even more.
Farmer Sohan Lal Meghwal had committed suicide on Sunday in Rai Singhnagar town of Sriganganagar because he was debt-ridden and in a suicide note he had blamed CM Ashok Gehlot and deputy CM Sachin Pilot for his misery and demanded to register an FIR against both. He had made a video saying that Congress had made false promises before the assembly elections that they will waive off the farmers' loans but they haven't fulfilled their promises.
BJP has criticized Congress and said the farmer suicides clearly proves that the loan waiver was not implemented on the ground which is why the government doesn't release any details of it.
Pilot while talking to the media on Tuesday said that according to information he has received, the farmer was not debt-ridden. "The administration and police are investigating the matter. But according to my information, I am told that the deceased farmer was not debt-ridden. The matter is being investigated so nothing can be said more."
"We want to take the farmers of the state and country the ahead with us. We are definitely going to fulfill our commitments to the farmers and empower them", said Sachin Pilot. He further added that their government will have to seriously look into why these suicides are taking place.
"Pilot is lying, Sohan Lal has two accounts, one in Syndicate bank, the details of his account has been given to the bank from where he took Rs 1,18,000 loan. We will protest in front of the SDM office on Friday and we demand a case to be registered against CM and Dy. CM along with 30 lakhs as compensation", said Shyopat Singh, local farmer leader and friend of Sohan Lal.
Sriganganagar police has already said that the farmer had a debt of Rs 2.5 lakh. There are reports that he had taken loans from two banks along with some private sources too. In an investigation by The New Indian Express, it was found that in 2016, Sohan Lal had taken a loan from Sriganganagar Syndicate Bank's Raisinghnagar branch. This is a cooperative bank. His loan limit was Rs 1,18,000 which he had renewed in 2017 and used the entire limit. He had to repay this in 2018.
The bank administration has refused that Sohan Lal was sent any type of legal notice. The bank said that after the announcement of the loan waiver by state government last year there were no legal notices sent to anyone. Only legal notices were sent to the NPA accounts. "No notice was given and no one from the bank went to meet him. At the maximum, somebody would have called him and tell him about renewing his loan limit", said a bank official.
"Sohan Lal was lucky that his account was credited with 23,000 Rupees as crop insurance. His interest was covered with that amount. All he had to do was come to the back to renew his limit with 6000 rupees", said Ajay Khotch, Agriculture officer of Syndicate bank, Rai Singh Nagar Branch, Sri Ganganagar.
When Ajay was asked why Sohan's loan was not waived off as the bank is cooperative one, he replied, " till now Government has only waived off the loans from cooperative societies and not from the cooperative banks."
Meanwhile, former Home Minister of the state, Gulab Chand Kataria has attacked the government and said that it is shameful for the government after they had promised to waive off loans in 10 days that they have not been able to do it in 5 months. He added that the government wants to relieve itself of the responsibility of the farmer's death by saying that the deceased farmer had no debt. " Words will not reveal any truth but records will. We have asked the Government of the list of all districts which states about the details of the waiver. Only then we will know the truth. The work is being done only on paper but the farmers are not receiving the benefit in their accounts", he added.