14 farmers’ suicides in Punjab in April; Farmers up in arms against AAP Govt

| | Chandigarh
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14 farmers’ suicides in Punjab in April; Farmers up in arms against AAP Govt

Monday, 25 April 2022 | PNS | Chandigarh

In the month of April, 14 farmers have committed suicide in Punjab, including 11 from the Malwa region alone. Farmers organisations claimed that most of these deaths were because of the stress caused by the season’s low crop yield.

Peeved over the continuing trend of farmers’ suicide despite change of guard in the state, Punjab’s farmers unions have targeted the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

They have demanded Rs one crore as ex-gratia to each family of farmers who died by suicide during the past three weeks, similar to the one recently announced by the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann for the Punjab police personnel.

At the same time, the farmers have asked the AAP led State Government to first fulfil its “guarantee” of stopping the farmers’ suicide, besides providing Rs 500 per quintal compensation for low yield as per surveys.

Senior farmer leader and Bharti Kisan Union president Balbir Singh Rajewal on Sunday urged the Punjab Government and the Central Government to come to the rescue of the farmers in the State. “It is a matter of great worry that farmers are dying by suicide in the countryside due to the distress caused by the steep fall in the yield of wheat and debt burden. As many as 14 cases of farmer suicide has been reported in the past three weeks in Punjab,” he said.

Rajewal urged Punjab Chief Minister to announce an ex-gratia of Rs one crore to the family of each farmer who have died by suicide during the past three weeks. “Recently, the Chief Minister had announced ex-gratia of Rs one crore for a police jawan or an officer killed on duty. On the same pattern, families of the deceased farmers should be given fiscal aid. Farmers are also doing a great duty. They are feeding millions of people across the country. Hence, the State Government should immediately pay ex-gratia to the families of deceased farmers,” he said.

Due the crisis-ridden agriculture of Punjab, the rural poor, particularly agricultural labourers are also passing through severe distress and are losing their lives by suicides, said Rajewal adding that “they should also be awarded compensation to their respective family on the same pattern as that of the farmers”.

Rajewal said that he had written to the Prime Minister to announce Rs 12,000 per acre as compensation to farmers who suffered big loss due to fall in the wheat yield.

Meanwhile, Mahila Kisan Union president Rajwinder Kaur Raju reminded the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann about the “guarantees”, while demanding that AAP led Government must fulfil its guarantee to put an end to the rampant suicides of farmers in the State. She also demanded to immediately announce compensation of Rs 500 per quintal to the farmers on the basis of the surveys conducted by the Punjab as well as Food Corporation of India on the shrinkage of wheat grains as well as yield due to scorching heat. Raju said that both surveys, conducted so far, have agreed in principle that the yield per acre had decreased by six to 10 percent during the current Rabi season due to shrinkage of wheat grains by 10-20 percent. “Hence low yield of wheat production has caused huge economic losses to the farmers of the State, so AAP dispensation should immediately declare compensation of Rs 500 per quintal to the farmers as per the guarantees and promises given to the farmers before the general elections,” she said.

Women farmer leader reminded the Mann that from 2016 to January 2022, and during ‘Kisan se Kejriwal ka Samvad’ program organized in Ludhiana on October 29, 2021, “AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal and you (Mann) had given a guarantee to the farmers that you would ensure that after formation of AAP government, no farmer would commit suicide from April 1, 2022. Besides this, grand guarantees had been given in writing to the farmers in the party manifesto during the assembly elections of 2022, but the newly elected legislatures have now forgotten the farmers’ plight as they were tipsified with power. And that's why the people of Punjab have become disappointed with this government in a very short span,” she lamented.

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