MANDYA/KALABURAGI:A debt-ridden sugarcane farmer from Pandavapura taluk in Mandya district committed suicide on Thursday by setting his standing crop on fire and then jumping into it. Ninge Gowda (65), a marginal farmer from Ganadahosur village, took the extreme step upset over crash in sugarcane prices and harassment from money lenders. In Kalaburagi district, a debt-ridden farmer consumed poison on Wednesday night and died on Thursday while two others tried to end their lives.
According to villagers, Ninge Gowda, who had grown sugarcane on his half-acre land, could not get suitable price as the Pandavapura sugar factory starts crushing only by July end. He had nothing to fall back on to feed his wife, disabled son Erre Gowda (28) and his daughter-in-law and had borrowed around Rs 1.6 lakh on interest. As the pressure mounted to repay the loan, he had no option but to knock on the doors of jaggery units.
Balarame Gowda, a villager, said that Ninge Gowda was upset when the jaggery unit offered to pay him only Rs 700 per tonne as the jaggery prices had crashed to Rs 2,200 per quintal.
Ninge Gowda did not have money to pay wages to labourers for harvesting the standing crop.
Distressed, he came to his sugarcane field in the morning, set it on fire and jumped into it, according to the villagers.
The fire spread to adjacent fields causing damage to the sugarcane crop in more than four acres .
Seeing the flames, some farmers rushed to the fields only to find Ninge Gowda’s charred body, which was shifted to Pandavapura for post-mortem.
Boramma, wife of Ninge Gowda, said that the money lender was pressuring her husband to repay the loan along with interest.