In the year of 2015, 39-year-old Ram Dwivedi shot himself with a rifle in Uttar Pradesh’s water-starved Banda district. Despite having 20 acres of land, Dwivedi couldn’t generate enough income to sustain his six-member family.
“He was depending heavily on the crop to repay his loan but was depressed at seeing the prospect of the second crop of the year failing,” said his younger brother, Anil Dwivedi.
Around 100 kilometres east in Sagar district, 75-year-old Mula Vishwakarma died after sleeping in the open at night outside the district administration office, waiting for his meager compensation of Rs 2,000.
Such scenarios are frequent in the land of Uttar Pradesh where a farmer is pushed to the brink. He is either forced to commit suicide due to successive failing crops or becomes a victim who had never received compensation from the state government.
In the past few years, most people who committed suicide in the area were either tenants or small-time farmers.
In 2016, near Badaun district of Western Uttar Pradesh, A 42-year-old farmer allegedly committed suicide after failing to clear his debts. Ranjit Yadav allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree.
According to Yadav’s family, he had taken Rs 2 lakh loan from Land Development Bank and Kisan Gramin Bank following which he was under pressure due to his debts and took the extreme step out of frustration.
Although Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi announced Rs 7,266 crore package in 2009, very little has been achieved on the ground. Nixed by burgeoning loan burdens, rampant corruption and poor project implementation, the farmer is always made to be the loser.
Poor implementation of various projects planned, in addition to rampant red-tape and corruption, has added to the farmers’ misery in the land of Uttar Pradesh. Surprisingly it is the same Congress-Samajwadi Party combination which is now fighting this assembly elections in 2017.
Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah has struck the right cord in heartland of Uttar Pradesh. Projecting a farmer-friendly approach, he has promised 100% loan wavier to the farmers and plans to extend 0% interest farm loans subsequently after coming to power.
“In the future when a sugarcane farmer goes to sell his produce he will immediately get a cheque dated 14 days from the day. The BJP government will make sure that every kilogram of produce will be sold at fair prices. Krishi Suchai Scheme to be started with special focus on Bundelkhand,” Shah said
In the next 5 years, a 150 crore fund will be set up for agricultural development and Bundelkhand will get special preference. These were some of the unique farmer friendly highlights of BJP’s manifesto for Uttar Pradesh.