Majha sees increase in farmer suicide cases

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Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 12

It has been a general perception that debt-ridden farmers of the Malwa region often commit suicide, but with increasing financial stress and social burdens, a large number of suicides have been reported from the Majha region also. Six farmer-suicide cases have been reported from the Taran Tarn and Amritsar districts of Majha during the past two months.

Economic experts say an increase in the cultivation costs, crop failure and low viability of small fields are the common reasons behind the financial crisis of an agrarian society. In a survey conducted by the state universities in 2011, 433 farmers committed suicide in the Majha region during 2000 to 2010.

As compared to Malwa and south Punjab, generally known as the cotton belt, the rate of farmer suicides in Majha was quite low. But during the past few months, the number of farmer suicides in the Majha region has also been increasing.

Dr Sharanjit Dhillon, senior economist at Guru Nanak Dev University, said, “As compared to south Punjab, the number of suicides is less, but it is true that farmer-suicide cases have been increasing in Majha too.

“It was a characteristic of Majha farmers to work hard and never give up, but now things have changed, as small-farm sizes are no more viable. Most of the farmers in Majha have small land holdings. There is no agro-based industry in the region. The supplementary income sources have also been squeezing”.

Giving suggestions about the prevention of suicides, Dr Sarabjeet Singh, principal Investigator of the Suicide Prevention Project of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), stated that along with economical and agricultural aspects and agricultural and remunerative pricing solutions “we need to take care of farmers’ mental health, too. They need to be trained to imbibe resilience and coping skills to stay away from negative thoughts. Financial literacy and importance of savings should also be a part of farmer training. Psychological and mental health issues should not be swept under the carpet, he reiterated.

Suicide cases

  • July 4: Jagroop Singh (40), a resident of Chahal village, committed suicide due to a financial crisis.
  • July 6: A 35-year-old farmer commits suicide by consuming some poisonous substance in Kot Buddha village.
  • July 9: Kulwant Singh (65), a farmer of Naushehra (Dhala) in Tarn Taran, committed suicide.
  • July 24: Major Singh (42) of Teda Kalan village in Ajnala ended his life by consuming some poisonous substance.
  • August 6: Jagir Singh (55), a debt-ridden farmer of Machhike village, died at a hospital, five days after he had consumed poison.

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