188 farmers have ended life in 205 days: Unions - ECAS Punjab

188 farmers have ended life in 205 days: Unions

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Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10

Jagraj Singh Jagga, 25, of Bhutal Kalan village near Lehra Gagga died by suicide today. He had reportedly taken a loan which he could not repay. In frustration, he hanged himself in his fields.

He is now among the 188 farmers who have ended their lives by suicide in 205 days — from June 1 till date. This was the time from when the Farm Ordinances were first proposed (promulgated on June 5 and enacted on September 17) to now when the agitation against the farm laws is at its peak.

Between October 19, when the rail roko campaign was at its peak to December 10 — 53 days — as many as 95 farmers and labourers have ended their lives by suicide. This data has been recorded and compiled by the farm unions who have been recording each farmer suicide caused because of indebtedness for the past many years now.

Dharminder Singh, who has been entrusted the job by the farmer unions to compile the data of all suicides by farmers and farm labourers, says that this high rate of suicide by farmers will only peak if the new laws are not repealed. “Either we keep losing our demographic dividend as youngsters move to foreign lands or those who are left here will commit suicide because they cannot sustain themselves,” he rues.

The government may continue to preach that the three agriculture laws will ameliorate the sufferings of poor farmers, but in Punjab, where the agrarian economy is dependent on the MSP-based regime and government procurement of crops, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 will undermine the established system, hitting at the farmers’ economic interests as it intends to promote privatisation in mandis and procurement.

Gian Singh, an eminent economist who has been studying and analysing farm suicides in Punjab since year 2000, says that the new laws would definitely lead farmers to penury and push more towards desperation, including suicides. “If more than 100 suicides are being reported since the laws came into force in September, one can believe that this number will rise. As many as 16,606 farmer and farm labourer suicides were recorded in Punjab during 2000-16. Of these, 60 per cent were suicides by farmers and 40 per cent were agriculture labourers.

from The Tribune https://ift.tt/2LrmPhy

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