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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

In 45 days, 21 debt-ridden farmers kill self in Punjab

The Indian Express met families of farmers grappling with the loss of their loved ones

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba |
Updated: May 22, 2017 7:48:44 pm

Farmer suicide, punjab Farmer suicide, farmer death, farmer debt, indian express news, india news

GURBAJ SINGH
Age: 32
Education: Primary school
Village: Ghuniana, district Faridkot
Suicide date: April 1, by jumping in front of a moving train. Police proceedings under 174 CrPC
Landholding: Inherited three acre from his father, but gradually sold all of it due to losses. Now left with a house on two kannal of land.
Debt: Rs10 lakh owed to bank, arhtiya (commission agent)
Family: Wife Harjinder Kaur (26) studied upto Class 12, three children, including two daughters Manveer Kaur (5), Gurleen Kaur (3) and son (1), mother Chhinder Kaur (60)
“Who will look after us? We neither have land nor anyone to support us,” said his mother, urging the government to give his wife a job.
Source of income: None

***

GURNAIB SINGH
Age: 45
Education: Primary school
Village: Bhainiwala, district Mansa
Suicide date: April 8, by consuming pesticide. Police proceedings under 174 CrPC
Landholding: 9 acre, on which he cultivated cotton, paddy, wheat. Owns a small
house in village
Debt: Rs 8 lakh to bank, cooperative society and arhtiyas
Family: Wife Raj Kaur (44), two sons, Surminder Singh (18), who studies in Class 12 and Balwinder Singh (17) in Class 11,
and parents. “He wanted to educate our sons, but he left us,” said Raj Kaur, wondering if the government would give thier elder son a job.

Source of income: None

***

BUTA SINGH
Age: 32
Education: Matric
Village: Jhohran, Raikot, district Ludhaina
Suicide date: April 16, by consuming crop spray. Police proceedings under 174 CrPC.
Landholding: No land after sale of 14 acre to raise money for father ‘s treatment. Small two room house.
Debt: Rs 1.5 lakh from arhtiya
Family: Wife Sandeep Kaur (27), two children — Jatinder Preet Singh (11) and Prabhdep Kaur (5). Mother Balbir Kaur died on the same day. He committed suicide after her cremation, reportedly unhappy over not being able to spend on her treatment.
“Why he did not think about me and our children before committing suicide. I am not educated to get any job now. Our relatives are the only hope, but for how long,” said Sandeep Source of income: None. Relatives paid for last rites

***

Farmer suicide, punjab Farmer suicide, farmer death, farmer debt, indian express news, india news

IQBAL SINGH
Age: 27
Education: Secondary school
Village:Karamgarh-Sahnewali in Mansa’s Sardulgarh
Suicide date: April 17. He consumed pesticide. Police proceedings under 174 CrPC
Landholdings: 3.5 acre. Lived in elder brother’s house. He planned to build his own
Debt: Rs 5 lakh from arhtiyas
Family: Unmarried. Mother Gurvinder Kaur (50), father is no more
“I wanted to get him married…he said wait for sometime till I build a house and pay off my debts,” said his mother.

***

JASWANT SINGH
Age: 24
Education: Matric
Village: Tahliwal in Hoshiarpur
Suicide date: April 19, by consuming pesticide.Case under 174 CrPC. Based on his younger brother’s statement and a video left by Jaswant, police arrested a commission agent.
Landholding: No land of his own. He had taken 20 acre on lease to cultivate sugarcane, wheat and paddy. Family owns a small seven-marla house
Debt: Rs 2 lakh from bank. He had recently returned Rs 3.2 lakh taken from a Begowal-based arhtiya, Mehnga Singh. The arhtiya refused to return the papers of his house, and demanded Jaswant’s wheat crop too.
Family: Wife Lakhwinder Kaur, two sons — four-month-old Akamjot Singh and Gursahib (4). Father Massa Singh (60), mother Balwinder Kaur (50), brtoher Kamaljit Singh (22) and grandparents.
“My bother has left me alone to look after the entire family, “ said Kamaljit. He wants a government job for his sister-in-law.
Source of income: Wife does tailoring work

Farmer suicide, punjab Farmer suicide, farmer death, farmer debt, indian express news, india news

***

PRITAM SINGH
Age: 50
Education: No schooling
Village: Lehal Kalan, district Sangrur.
Suicide date: April 21, by consuming pesticide. Case under 174 CrPC
Landholding: Owns five acres, with an under-construction house.
Debt: Rs 10 lakh including bank, cooperative society and arhtiya
Family: Wife Siran Kaur (48), three sons — Jagjeet (27, married), Balwinder (25) and Satbir (19). While Balwinder is a graduate, Jagjeet studied till Class 5, Satbir till Class 10.
“He tried his best to get out of debt, but failed due to poor rate for crops…Now my sons have to make a living out of our land,” said Siran Kaur.
Source of income: Farming

***

JASWANT SINGH
Age: 32
Education: Middle school
Village: Gobindpura-Jawaharwala, district Sangrur.
Suicide date: April 24, after consuming celphos. Case under under 174 CrPC
Landholding: Four acre on which he was cultivating paddy and wheat. Few cattle, own house
Debt: Rs 8 lakh, including Rs 3 lakh each from two banks, and Rs 2-lakh from cooperative society
Family: Got married five months back to Binder Kaur (28), who has two daughters aged ten and five from her previous marriage. Other family members include mother, Rajinder Kaur (55), sister Kuldeep Kaur. Father is no more.
“I took the risk of remarrying for the sake of the future of my two daughters, but I’ve become a widow again in just five months…,” said Binder Kaur.
Source of income: Farming and small dairy business

***

ROSHAN SINGH
Age: 45 ,
Education: No schooling
Village: Kothe Nathiana, district Bathinda
Suicide date: April 25, by jumping before a moving train. Case under 174 CrPC.
Landholding: None after sale of his one kannal. Owned a two-room house.
Debt: Rs 1 lakh to arhtiya
Family: Parents, wife Karamjit Kaur, three children, including two daughters — 14-year-old Veerpal Kaur (Class 9), Arashdeep Kaur (Class 8) —and son, Arashdeep Singh (Class 7).
“I have started working as a labourer to look after the chidren and old parents. Otherwise, who is going to provide for us now,” said Karamjit.
Source of income: No source of income. Villagers paid for last rites

Farmer suicide, punjab Farmer suicide, farmer death, farmer debt, indian express news, india news

***

SUNNY SINGH
Age: 24
Education: did not go to school
Village: Chhaule, district Jalandhar
Suicide date: April 28, after consuming celphos.
In December, his father, Narinder Singh, had committed due to debt. Case under 174 CrPC
Landholding: Less than two acre. Had taken around 12 acre on lease for cultivating wheat-paddy. Lived in grandfather’s two-room house with mother and brother.
Debt: Rs 9 lakh, including Ra 2.5 lakh of bank. He owed the rest to arhtiyas
Family: Mother Kashmir Kaur, bother Hardeep Singh (27).
“In December, my husband committed suicide and now my younger son. I am worried about my elder son now…,” said Kashmir Kaur.
Source of income: Farming

***

JAGSIR SINGH
Age: 37
Education: Primary school
Village: Gehriwara Singh, district Bathinda
Suicide date: April 28, consumed farm spray in the field. Case under 174 CrPC.
Landholding: 8 acres. Own house in
the village
Debt: Rs14.5 lakh — Rs 10 lakh to bank,
Rs 3 lakh to arhtiya and Rs 1.5 lakh to co-
op society
Family: Wife Amritpal Kaur, son Hasanpreet (14) and daughter Manpreet (15) — both in Class 8
“Government should come to our houses and see how we are living in acute poverty…Farming is slowly killing farmers of the state,” said Amritpal.
Source of income: Farming.

***

BALJIT SINGH
Age: 29
Education: Matric
Village: Bhagat Ram, district Mansa
Suicide date: May 4, after consuming pesticide. Case under 174 CrPC
Landholding: 2.5 acre used for cotton, paddy and wheat cultivation
Debt: Rs. 6.5 lakhs including three lakhs bank, Rs. 50,000 cooperative Society, Rs. 3 lakh arhtiyas. Living in father’s semi built, semi- dilapidated house.
Family: Wife Mandeep Kaur (29), she is graduate, daughters Avneet Kaur (5), Akem (3),
and 8-year-old physically and mentally challenged son.
“Due to my son, I had left a teaching job as my husband told me to look after him, but now I cannot give food to my children. I appeal to the government to give any job to me,” said Mandeep.
Source of income: No source of income except farming

Farmer suicide, punjab Farmer suicide, farmer death, farmer debt, indian express news, india news

***

BEANT SINGH
Age: 45
Education: Middle school
Village: Ranghrial, district Mansa
Landholding: 3 acre for cultivating cotton, paddy and wheat
Suicide date: May 4, by consuming pesticide. Case under 174 CrPC
Debt: Rs 4 lakh — Rs 2.5 lakh from bank, Rs 50,000 from cooperative society, Rs one lakh from arhtiya. One acre was sold by him for Rs 12 lakh six months back to repay an earlier debt of around Rs 8 lakh. Some amount was spent on repair of the house.
Family: Wife Karamjit Kaur (40), son Gursewak Singh (20), daughter Mandeep Kaur (18)
“I never thought my husband would take such a drastic step. My son does not know how to do farming. Now government alone can save us,” said Karamjit.
Source of income: Farming only

***

GURJANT SINGH
Age: 40
Education: Primary school
Village: Govindpura, district Bathinda
Suicide date: May 5, after consuming pesticide. Case under 174 CrPC
Landholding: 3 kannal (less than half acre)
Debt: Rs 2.5 lakh taken from bank, arhtiya and co-operative society
Family: Balbir Kaur (70), mother
“He bought a cow on April 11 for Rs 55,000, but the cow fell ill and he had to spend Rs 30,000 on treatment. He had to borrow money,”said Balbir Kaur, adding that he was upset as the cow’s health didn’t improve. The cow died on May 11.
Source of income: Farming.

***

KAUR SINGH
Age: 65
Education: Primary school
Village: Jodhpur, Barnala district
Suicide date: May 6, by consuming pesticide. Case under 174 CrPC.
Landholding: 3 kannals. Family has an old partly built house in the village
Debt: Rs 5 lakh from bank, co-operative society and arhtiyas.
Family: Wife Charnjit Kaur (60), son Gurmail Singh, son’s wife, Amandeep Kaur, and two grandchildren.
“All his life he remained under debt only and now he wanted to get rid of it,” said son Gurmail Singh, adding that small farmers had no way to survive in Punjab.
Source of income: Farming. Family had no money for last rites. Arhtiya promised Rs 2000 for the bhog.

***

HARI SINGH
Age: 55
Education: No schooling
Village: Duggan, district Sangrur.
Landholding: One acre. Small one-room house.
Debt: Rs 3.5 lakh, including Rs two lakh from arhtiya and Rs 1.5 lakh from bank
Suicide date: May 6, by consuming celphos tablets, pesticide. Case under 174 CrPC.
Family: Wife Amarjit Kaur (48), son Gurpreet Singh (29), who works as a driver with a dairy earning Rs 4500 per month. Two married daughters.
Gurpreet, who studied till Class 12, said his father always repented that he could not provide good education to him. “He even once apologised to me,” he said.
Source of income: Farming. Son’s salary.

***

GURCHARAN SINGH
Age: 55
Education: No Schooling
Village: Joga, district Mansa
Suicide date: May 8, by consuming poison. Case under 174 CrPC.
Landholding: Nearly 2.5 acre. Owned a small two-room house.
Debt: Rs 3.5 lakh of bank and arhtiya.
Family: Wife Paramjit Kaur (50), who suffers from kidney problem, son Hardeep Singh (24). Son is married, but not educated. He heldped his father in the fields.
“We all are uneducated in the family…I will also do farming like my father and will live like him under debt and tension…I will meet the same fate,” said Hardeep Singh.
Source of income: Farming

***

RANJIT SINGH
Age: 43
Education: Secondary
Village: Rampura, district Bathinda.
Suicide date: May 9 , by consuming celphos tablets. Case under 174 CrPC.
Landholding: Owned half acre, but sold it. Court has ordered auction of his house on an arthiya’s complaint.
Debt: Rs 8 lakh, including Rs 2.5 lakhs each to arhtiya and bank. Remaining amount taken from relatives.
Family: Wife Nainderjit Kaur (40), three children — two daughters and a son, Lakhbir Singh (17). Elder daughter Hajit Kaur (22) is married, while second daughter, Jaggi, is still studying.
“With no land and no house we will be on the road soon. If government can see out pain, then some help should be givem,” said Lakhbir.
Source of income: None

***

TEJ SINGH
Age: 48
Education: Graduate
Village: Dan Singh Wala, district Bathinda
Suicide date : May 11, after consuming pesticide. Case under 174 CrPC.
Landholding: 8 acre jointly owned by him, his father, and brother. Own house of around six-marla
Debt: Rs 25 lakh on joint name of deceased, his brother and father, Rs 4 lakh taken frm arhtiya.
Family: Wife Veerpal Kaur, son Gurjeewan Singh, doing BTech from a Chandigarh college
“He was under stress due to mounting debt and despite doing farming scientifically he always incurred losses,” said Veerpal Kaur.
Source of income: farming

***

SHAMSHER DHILLON
Age: 53
Education: No schooling
Village: Thikriwal, district Barnala
Suicide date: May 11, by hanging. Case under 174 CrPC.
Landholding: 9 acre for paddy and wheat cultivation.
Debt: Rs 40 lakh — Rs 19 lakh from PNB, Rs 2 lakh from cooperative society, around Rs 19 lakh from arhtiyas and relatives.
Family: Wife Balwinder, two sons — Daljit Singh (32) and Amritpal Singh (30). Amritpal wanted to go abroad and some money was taken for this.
“My father wanted to send my younger brother abroad, but he was not able to do so and even an agent had duped him,” said Balwinder.
Source of income: Farming

***

JASPAL SINGH
Age: 33
Education: Matric
Village: Lelewala, district Bathinda.
Suicide date: May 12, consumed poison. Case under 174 CrPC
Landholding: 6 acre, own house.
Debt: Rs 18 lakh to bank and arhtiya
Family: Wife Harpreet (25), two daughters — Gagandeep, Hargundeep, widowed sister-in-law, Jaspreet (30) and her two teen-age children
“Jaspal was dropping hints that he might take such a step, but we thought he was just testing us. Now, after his death we six members have no earning hand at home. We are thinking of giving land on lease now,” said Jaspreet Kaur.
Source of income: Farming

***

KARAM SINGH
Age: 41
Education: No schooling
Village: Dhurkot, district Barnala.
Suicide date: May 15, by consuming poison. Case under 174 CrPC
Landholding: Left with six acre after sale of five acre due to failure of crop. Owns a small house
Debt: Rs 27 lakh, including Rs 18 lakh of bank limit, Rs 5 lakh from arhtiya and Rs 4 lakh taken from relatives and friends
Family: Wife Kulwinder Kaur, son Rupinder Singh, studying in Class 10, daughter Arashdeep Singh, who is in Class 12, old parents
“After his death we are also as good as dead. People are coming to take their debt back. How are we going to repay? The debt is so huge that without selling our land we cannot repay it,” said Kulwinder.
Source of income: Farming

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