Tribune News Service
Barnala, September 11
Another indebted farmer, Lavpreet Singh (22) from Bhotna village here, has committed suicide by allegedly consuming pesticides. Now, no male member is left in his family as Lavpreet was the fifth to end his life due to the mounting debt.
Earlier, his great grandfather, grandfather, father and his brother had committed suicide.
Mother of the deceased Harmale Kaur and his sister Manpreet Kaur are the only ones left in the family now, unable to understand how they will repay the debt of Rs 7-8 lakh, taken from banks and private money lenders for agriculture purposes.
“Since the suicide by my husband Kulwant Singh on January 5, 2018, Lavpreet was under depression, as he was unable to pay the debts, despite various efforts to arrange money. The compensation file of my husband’s death case has been gathering dust in the Barnala Agriculture Department office, but none is willing to even listen to us. My son committed suicide when he failed to repay the debts,” Harmale said.
Manpreet alleged that now they would not demand anything from the government as they had lost all hopes.
As per the information shared by villagers, Lavpreet consumed pesticides at his fields on Monday. He was taken to a Barnala hospital from where he was referred to a private hospital in Ludhiana, where he died on Tuesday. His body was brought to Barnala civil hospital last evening and after a post-mortem examination on Wednesday, it was handed over to his relatives.
“Lavpreet is the fifth member of this family to have committed suicide. Around 70 years ago, the family had around 14 acres of land, but now the family owns only one acre. All have committed suicide due to the rising debts,” said Bikkar Singh, a resident of the village. Tallwal SHO Jasvir Singh said they had registered a case and started further investigations.
When contacted, Barnala Deputy Commissioner TPS Phoolka said the state government had waived a debt of Rs 57,330 of a cooperative society in the name of deceased Kulwant Singh, Lavpreet’s father, on April 11, 2018.
“After the death of her husband, Harmale Kaur took another loan of Rs 31,925 from the society on May 21, 2019. In Barnala, we have included all eligible farmers in debt waiver scheme, as per the notification,” Phoolka added.
Meanwhile, Members of NGO Scientific Awareness and Social Welfare Forum today wrote to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and alleged that the debt waiver scheme of the government had failed completely.
“The government must give complete debt waiver to farmers. Lavpreet is the 5th member of his family to commit suicide. Apart from waiver, the government must start special camps across the state to counsel farmers and prevent them from ending their lives,” said Dr AS Mann, president of the forum.