A 60-year-old sugarcane farmer, who had run up a debt of Rs two lakh on his crop this year, allegedly committed suicide at his sugarcane field on Thursday after setting his crop on fire amid bleak prospects for a profitable sale.
The incident occurred at Ganada Hosur village in Pandavapura taluk, nearly 125 km away from Bengaluru. The farmer, Ningegowda, had a small holding of 16 guntas (40 guntas make an acre).
The Pandavapura police said that Ningegowda, a physically challenged person, had loans amounting to Rs two lakh which he feared he would not be able to repay this year amid a glut of the sugarcane and sharply declining prices for the crop. Ningegowda, who is survived by his wife Boramma and a physically challenged son, was trying to sell his sugarcane to factories for several days and was being offered prices in the range of Rs 700 per tonne compared to last year’s prices of Rs 2,200 per tonne.
A large numbers of local farmers expressed shock over the incident and gathered at Pandavapura to stage a protest against the Congress government in the state demanding a solution to the problems of sugarcane farmers and fair compensation to Ningegowda’s family. The suicide of Ningegowda is expected to rock the Congress government during a leigislature session set to begin next week.