In 3 Years, 130 Farmers Ended Life In Moga


MOGA – Balwinder Singh, a 36-year-old debt-ridden farmer of Ghal Kalan village, 5 km from here, gave up on life on October 13, 2015. A small farmer, Balwinder took poison after his wife died of cancer.

Her medical expenses had caused the debt to balloon. Balwinder could no longer face the local moneylender (arhtiya).

The state government neither extended monetary help for his wife’s treatment, nor gave any relief to his two children, presently living at their uncle’s house.

This is a story that seems to be played out repeatedly across the district. As many as 130 farmers have committed suicide from January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2015, in the Moga district.

As per the records of the Agriculture Department, the district administration was considering 103 cases of farmer suicides (who killed themselves between April 1, 2013, and July 31, 2015,) for compensation. However, not one has been given any money so far.

“The committees headed by the SDMs have recommended compensation of Rs 3 lakh each in just three cases, but the district-level committee is yet to approve these,” said Dr Sukhdev Brar, Chief Agriculture Officer.

The state government has laid down three conditions to award compensation in farmer suicide cases. These are: police action under section 174 of the CrPC, loans taken from banks or cooperative societies and post-mortem examination of the body. However, in these cases, farmers usually have borrowed money from the local moneylender. This is a major problem the deceased farmers’ kin face.

Sukhdev Singh Kokri, the general secretary of BKU (Ekta), said the government knew that farmers borrowed from moneylenders. So, he said, this fact should be considered for grant of relief. “We are already fighting for certain amendments in the rules and regulations for the grant of relief,” he added.