Kalavad Taluka Khedut Hit Rakshak Samiti, a farmers’ organisation made a representation and submitted a memorandum to local mamlatdar on Wednesday demanding compensation to kin of a farmer who had allegedly committed suicide in Shishang village in Kalavad district of Jamnagar district early this month “due to crop failure and heavy debt.” Led by Pravin Padaliya, president of Kalavad Taluka Khedut Hit Rakshak Samiti, farmers and family members of Ravirajsinh Jadeja submitted a memorandum to Kalavad mamlatdar Jagdish Vasoya. In the memorandum, the farmers’ organisation said Ravirajsinh was a poor farmer who committed suicide due to crop failure and debt.
“Family of Ravirajsinh Jadeja does farming on a small piece of land and theirs is rain-fed agriculture. He was farming land which he was due to inherit from his farmer father. Due to less rainfall over the last two monsoon, crop had failed and consequently he had incurred debt. In such circumstances, he had committed suicide… There is popular demand in Kalavad taluka that government should give financial assistance to his kin,” stated the memorandum addressed to Agriculture Minister Chiman Shapariya.
The memorandum also noted that government department had turned down applications by Raviraj’s family for insurance and other assistance as the land was not in his name. “Son of a farmer should be considered legal heir to such land. We farmers demand that Ravirajsinh also be included in the definition of a farmer and his case be considered for compensation,” added the memorandum.
Kalavad taluka police say that 30-year-old Raviraj had consumed poison on his agricultural field in Shishang village on May 3. Doctors at a government hospital had declared him brought dead, pointing to poisoning as the primary reason for his death. “His family members have told in their statements that cotton crop on their farm had failed over the last two years due to insufficient rain and pest infestation. Following poor harvest, he had incurred debt. They further say that worried about the burden of the debt, he consumed poison and committed suicide,” Ganshyamsinh Jadeja, assistant police sub-inspector of Kalavad taluka police said.
After the incident on May 3, Kalavad taluka police had registered a case of accidental death and the ASI is investigating officer in the case. Police say that Raviraj was father of a seven-year-old son and four-year-old daughter. Balbhadra Jadeja, cousin brother of Raviraj said that the victim’s father Hathubha owned 10 bigha of land. “Raviraj was the eldest among two brothers and a sister. His father works as a security guard at a factory in Lodhika GIDC while his younger brother Bhagirathsinh is employed at a factory in the same GIDC as a labourer. Raviraj was also tilling other 30 bigha of land as a sharecropper. But his cotton crop failed for two successive year due to less rain and pink ballworm infestation. In the meanwhile, he married off his younger brother and sister. Therefore, he availed of Rs 1.25 lakh bank loan and around Rs 80,000 of crop loan. He was apparently depressed about the debt as he had been keeping to himself for four days before he committed suicide,” said Balbhadra.
Balbhadra further said they were forced to approach mamlatdar after their requests for insurance claim and compensation were turned down. “He had availed of crop loan from a nationalised bank. But the bank refused our plea for insurance claim saying the land Raviraj was tilling was not in his name but his fathers name and therefore, Raviraj was not a farmer. After that, we approached agricultural produce market committee of Kalavad. But they too gave us a similar reply,” said Blabhadra.
The mamlatdar said that he guided the family to approach proper authority for claiming insurance money. “District panchayat gives Rs2 lakh insurance cover in case of farmer dying while doing farming. I have advised the family to approach Jamnagar district panchayat for insurance cover,” Vasoya told The Indian Express.
But Padaliya said that son of a farmer who does farming should also be considered a farmer and given benefits of insurance cover etc.