Alwar: Two farmers from Rajasthan committed suicide today. While one of them, Gajender Singh, hanged himself at the Aam Aadmi Party rally in Delhi, triggering a political maelstrom, the other death took place in Alwar.
Harsool Jatav, a resident of Tibaragaon, a village 8 km from Alwar, threw himself in front of a train. The 45-year-old had taken 10 bighas of land on contract, incurring a debt of over RS 1.3 lakh.
A year ago Jatav had got his two daughters married. He had taken the land in hope that he would replay the whole debt. But the hailstorms in March and April cut down his earnings to a meagre Rs. 20,000.
“He was in debt, still he spent money to get the land ready. He was able to recover nothing,” said his neighbour Ayub.
Of the 33 districts in Rajasthan, 26 have suffered severe crop loss. In more than 3000 villages, the damage has been more than 50%. In some instances, farmers were forced to set fire to the remaining crops, since they would not recover the cost of harvesting it.
“Our 4 bighas of land did not yield even one sack of grain. We may as well set it on fire and prepare for the next crop,” reasoned Mehmood, a farmer residing in Tuleda village, 3 km from Alwar.
The government machinery has been slow to react. A compensation of Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs. 3 lakh has been announced, but the cheques are yet to be distributed. Wheat procurement has not even started.
“It is sad that the state government has provided no relief. Not even a paisa has reached (farmers),” said Jitendra Singh, the former Parliamentarian of Congress from Alwar.
The government seems unaware of the ground reality. “The farmers in Rajasthan are too proud to commit suicide. They have a sense of honour,” said agriculture minister Prabhu Lal Saini.