For a large number of small and marginal farmers farming has now become a non-profitable profession as production cost of crops and vegetables is very high as compared to the prices of their produce. Due to this and other family needs, they take loan which increases every month to the extent that it forces debt-ridden farmers to take to the path of suicide.The plight of marginal and small farmers can be understood from their living standard and the problems, being faced by them.
Many of them are battling with diseases while many others have no money to deposit even fee of their wards. Many of them are also doing other small works, like selling milk by having a cow or buffalo, doing labour in the towns, performing part-time small jobs. Even after that they are unable to feed their families or repay their loans. This correspondent met three marginal and small farmers in Badrukhan village, situated near Sangrur. One of them Darshan Singh (65) sold an acre (out of three acres owned by him) about a couple of months ago for the heart operation of his daughter-in-law, whose husband had died about four months ago in the field, and other expenses.
Talking to Daily Post, Darshan Singh said that he now owned just two acres and was under a debt of Rs seven lakh. He had given his land on contract to someone as he could not walk without a stick. Thus he was unable to make both ends meet. He also needed three-four lakh rupees for the treatment of his hip joint and treatment of throat of his wife. Even a single penny of his loan had not been waived by the state government so far, as announced by the government. Another farmer, Sardara Singh (54), said that he had sold three bighas, out of four bighas owned by him, some years ago for solemnizing marriage of his two daughters.
Now he owned just one bigha where he sowed crops for his family. He was also under a debt of Rs 5 lakh, taken from an arhtiya, but had no money to repay the loan as he worked for an electricity contractor as a worker. He also said that his loan had also not been waived by the government as was promised by the Congress during previous assembly elections. Another farmer Gurjant Singh, who owns three acres, said he was under a debt of Rs 85,000 of Cooperative Society and Rs 9 lakh of a bank.
He said his loan had also not been waived by the government. He also said that due to domestic reasons he had to sell 10 acres about eight years ago. He said for improving financial conditions of marginal and small farmers state government had not been initiating concrete steps due to which farmers had been committing suicides. State president of BKU (Ugrahan), Joginder Singh Ugrahan, held the successive state governments and central governments responsible for the plight of farmers. He said due to small land holdings, owned by marginal/small farmers, the farming profession was unable to fulfill their domestic and other needs.
Even allied ventures, like selling of milk, sowing of vegetables, also did not help them in coming out of the debt- trap.Ugrahan said there was a 75 per cent ratio of farmers who owned 2.5 acres to 5 acres while 60 per cent ratio of farmers owned land less than 2.5 acres. He said a major portion of farming community is under debt. There were three main reasons due to which farmers had been committing suicides, financial hardships, small chunks of land, no employment opportunities for rural educated youths.
For more news updates Follow and Like us on Facebook