Sri Ganganagar: A 45-year-old farmer committed suicide at Thakri village, in Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar, allegedly over non-fulfillment of pre-poll promise of waiving bank loans by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot. (Also read: Maharashtra Govt to Transfer Title Deeds to Farmer Widows)
Sri Ganganagar SDM Sandeep Kakkad said, “The cause of suicide is being investigated. If it is found that it happened due to pressure from someone, action will be taken. He was not a defaulter, he was paying his dues regularly.”
Reports said Sohan Lal Meghwal left behind a video on Facebook and a two-page note accusing Gehlot of not honouring its pre-poll promise of waiving bank loans. By the time his neigbours were alerted to his plans, Meghwal had already consumed poison.
He died while being taken to Sri Ganganagar district hospital. In his note, Meghwal reportedly said, “They had promised that the loans would be waived off within 10 days of their government coming to power. Their government is here now, but what has happened to their promise?”
His video had an emotional message, “I am killing myself, but I would like to urge the Ashok Gehlot government to take note of farmers’ grievances and pay back their dues. I want to apologise to my family too, if I have done them any wrong. I hope that unity returns to this village after my death.”
He also reportedly exhorted his fellow farmers to not conduct his last rites till they were freed of their debts.
A leading portal quoted Deputy Superintendent of Police Jai Singh Tanwar confirming the recovery of the suicide note. “The note says that the loan waiver promised to him did not happen. We are investigating this claim, and also how much money he owed to debtors. Apparently, he also owned money to private banks and money lenders.”
Local officials said the farmer had taken loans amounting to Rs 3 lakh and was regularly paying the interest but he could not benefit from the government scheme because it only covers loans of up to Rs 2 lakh.
Later on Monday, Ganganagar MP N C Chauhan met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla over the suicide. He asked the Speaker to take cognizance of the incident and requested him to ask the Centre and the state government for justice and compensation for the bereaved family.
Reports say the government has waived around Rs 7,000 crore in agricultural loans, benefiting as many as 19 lakh farmers. The Congress had promised loan waiver schemes for farmers in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in the run-up to the assembly elections last year. It went on to win all the three states in the elections held in December.