With yet another farmer committing suicide last week, the death toll has reached 4 this month in Karnataka’s Bidar region. Balaji, a 50-year-old farmer allegedly killed himself at his residence in Basavakalyan taluk. Sources revealed that he was under debt and had to pay Pragati Krishna Grameen Bank and with private moneylenders in his area.
“We were called in yesterday (Thursday). This is the second farmer taking his own life this month in our police station limits. He owed Rs 50,000 to the PKG Bank and Rs 4 lakh to private moneylenders,” said Veeranna, Inspector, Basavakalyan Rural Police Station.
As per the local authorities, it is the fourth death of a farmer in Bidar district, following the loan waiver scheme announced by the chief minister on 5 July.
Various other farmers like Ramnath Shetty Mecare of Khashempur village in Aurad, Venkat of Niragudi village in Basavakalyan and Mallappa Madape from Basavakalyan also killed themselves.
Venkat, a 47-year-old farmer from Niragudi owed Rs 70,000 to the State Bank of India and Rs 3 lakh to the Corporation Bank. The local authorities stated that the cases of suicide have a major link to the increasing debts of farmers.
“In most cases the deaths appear to be linked to the lack of money to pay off loans. This was the first such death in 2018 and the families tell us that the victims were complaining about their loans and that in spite of the loan waiver being announced, were unsure when the money would reach them,” added Veeranna.
As a matter of fact, Rs 34,000 crore was set aside by the state government in the budget. However, the loan waiver scheme had certain terms and conditions in it. The loans amounting up to Rs 2 lakh per family were to be waived. Also, the waiver was not allowed to extend loans taken from the private moneylenders.