After his groundnut crop reportedly failed due to deficient rainfall, a farmer in Mendapara village of Bhesan taluka in Junagadh district allegedly committed suicide by consuming poison on Tuesday.
Police said Manoj Patel (30) was found unconscious on his farm by his cousin brother Vijesh in Mendapara on Tuesday morning. Vijesh rushed Manoj to government-run community health centre (CHC) in Bhesan town. However, doctors there declared Manoj dead on arrival.
“Manoj had gone to his farm last night to guard his crop against wild animals. However, he consumed poison anytime before 8:15 am. His cousin brother Vijesh found him unconscious when he went to the farm this morning. Manoj died on way to hospital,” Bhagvanji Khambhla, police sub-inspector of Bhesan said.
Family members of Manoj ascribed his death to crop failure. “In his primary statement, Vijesh has told us that Manoj’s groundnut crop had failed due to deficient rainfall and therefore he committed suicide,” the PSI further said.
Sarpanch of Mendapara village, Hasam Sama said Manoj owned around 10 bigha of land. “Majority of farmers in our village grow groundnut and cotton. But rain has been scanty this year. There is no water in the river nor in wells to irrigate our crops. Therefore, groundnut crop is almost a failure. We fear groundnut yield will be around one quintal per bigha against longterm average of four quintals,” said Sama.
Dr Hemat Satodia, medical officer of Bhesan CHC confirmed the farmer had died due to poison. “Prima facie, we have concluded that he consumed aluminium phosphide and died. However, to know the exact cause of his death, we have sent his viscera samples to Forensic Science Laboratory in Junagadh,” said Dr Satodia.
Aluminium phosphide is a poison used to control menace of rodents.
Junagadh is the largest producer of groundnut in Gujarat. However, farmers are facing tough time this year due to a little or no rainfall in late August and early September. Some parts of Junagadh district did receive a good spell of rain last week but that was a little too late, farmers say, with crops already having withered.
Khambhla said they will record statements of Manoj’s family members once his last rites are performed. Bhesan police have filed a case of accidental death and started investigation.