DALBIR SINGH (60), a farmer from Ahlowal village in Tarn Taran district, succumbed to financial stress and committed suicide on Wednesday. His family claimed that Dalbir was reeling under a debt of over Rs 11 lakh. The administration, however, claimed that Dalbir had a debt of Rs 7 lakh. The Punjab government, however, will pay only Rs 3 lakh compensation to Dalbir’s family.
Deputy Commissioner DPS Kharbanda said, “We have investigated the death of Dalbir Singh. He was under a debt of Rs 7 lakh. Some amount of it was owed to a commission agent. He committed suicide due to the financial burden.” The DC added, “We will give a compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the family. Earlier, there was provision of Rs 2 lakh compensation. Now, the government has increased the compensation amount to Rs 3 lakh. We have been told by the government to pay all the amount immediately from the accounts of the Red Cross. The state government will pay Red Cross later. We will give compensation to the family tomorrow.”
Rashpal Singh, member of Ahlowal panchayat and a close relative of Dalbir, said, “Dalbir had only two-and-a-half acres of land. He used to do contract farming. He had more than Rs 10 lakh loan to pay. Rs 7 lakh was taken from Punjab and Sind Bank and a cooperative society and Rs 4 lakh from a commission agent.”
When told that the administration had claimed that he had a debt of about Rs 7 lakh against the claim of Rs 11 lakh made by the family, Rashpal said, “We will submit all papers to the administration to prove that Dalbir had a debt of more than Rs 11 lakh in his name. In fact, Dalbir had no money to sow the next crop. He was in depression and consumed some poisonous substance on Wednesday morning and died on the way to hospital.”
Dalbir Singh is survived by a son and two married daughters. His son Jasmail Singh migrated to Dubai around six months back. “His son was sent to Dubai in the hope of paying the debt but Dalbir Singh could not wait for long,” rued Rashpal.
The Taran Taran district administration has also claimed to have found an alleged fake case of farmer suicide. “We have found that Joginder Singh of Kot Sivian had a debt of Rs 7 lakh. He died on Wednesday. But, it was a natural death. The family claimed it was a suicide. So, there will be no compensation in this case,” said the DC.