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Death of farmer in Uttar Pradesh: ‘He didn’t come home… next day, before his turn at the fertiliser shop, he died’

A father of six, Pal owned two acres of land. His nephew Raghvendra said Pal had visited several shops in the past few days trying to arrange fertilisers.

Written by Manish Sahu | Lucknow |
Updated: October 24, 2021 7:06:16 am
Superintendent of Police, Lalitpur, Nikhil Pathak said a post-mortem had shown the cause of death as cardiac arrest.

The autopsy report says Bhogilal Pal died of cardiac arrest. However, his family says, what really killed the 53-year-old farmer was the worry over arranging fertilisers for his land in Nayagaon village of Lalitpur district. He had been standing in a queue outside a shop to try and arrange the same for the second day on Friday, when he collapsed.

The administration says there is no shortage of fertilisers in the district, but that the demand had suddenly shot up due to the recent rain. Soon after Pal’s death, District Magistrate Annavi Dinesh Kumar recommended to the state government that the family be provided financial help of Rs 10 lakh. The government is yet to take a call on the matter.

A father of six, Pal owned two acres of land. His nephew Raghvendra said Pal had visited several shops in the past few days trying to arrange fertilisers. On Thursday, he went to a shop at Jugpura, but the queue was long and his turn never came. “He did not return home. The next morning, he again queued up outside the shop. Before his turn came, he fell unconscious,” said Raghvendra, adding that Pal was rushed to hospital by the locals.

Superintendent of Police, Lalitpur, Nikhil Pathak said a post-mortem had shown the cause of death as cardiac arrest.

The district has around 3 lakh hectares of cultivable land. Last year, in the month of October and November, around 32,000 metric tonnes of fertilisers were consumed in Lalitpur. Sources said the district had stocks of 19,000 metric tonnes, but was struggling to meet demand following the rain last week. DM Kumar said the demand had suddenly increased.

Late monsoon rains have spurred demand for sowing of mustard, chana, wheat and other rabi crops, but farmers across the country have been struggling to access di-ammonium phosphate necessary to be applied at the time. Stocks are low due to a surge in international prices in the past six-seven months. The Indian Express had reported earlier that all-India stocks of DAP and muriate of potash on September 30 were less than half of a year-ago levels. The Department of Fertilisers is operating a 24X7 war room to run rakes as per demand, with the allocation to Uttar Pradesh mainly as of now to Aligarh, Mathura, Agra, Mainpuri, Etawah, Farrukhabad, Kanpur, and other rake points near the state’s potato- and mustard-growing tracts.

Sources said the other reason for the rush at shops in Lalitpur is that out of the total 270 shops in the district, just around 150 are functional. Others are closed because of various reasons, including their licences not being renewed. District officials are now looking at ways to reopen the shops as soon as possible.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav demanded that the government compensate Pal’s family, adding in a tweet that never in the history of Independent India has the farmer been so harassed and humiliated as now.

Lalitpur’s wait though may be ending. Kumar told The Sunday Express that arrangements have been made for supply of fertilisers to the district and stocks were likely to reach soon.

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