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Drought: Debt killing Uttar Pradesh farmers


Priyanka Dube,CNN-IBN
Aug 04, 2012 at 09:03am IST

Bundelkhand: As India faces partial drought, CNN-IBN visits Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh where over 90 per cent of the farmers are now debt ridden and at the mercy of moneylenders after banks fail them yet again.

There is no glimmer of hope to the starving family of Kamta, the future looks bleak and the present is tragic. The farmer from Bundelkhand took a loan of Rs 1 lakh from two banks, the rains deceived him and he failed to pay back the loan. The spectre of a legal battle was too much for him to handle. Kamta committed suicide by consuming pesticide.

No Rain and all pain is the story that is told all across the Bundelkhand parched land where 80 per cent are farmers. Over 90 per cent of the farmers are debt ridden.

Sonali's father Devi Lal was one of them, he too committed suicide. Little Sonali doesn't know why her father died, but knows what she'll do when she grows up; save lives.

Khemchand family is in dire straits. He ran up a debt of Rs 264,000 to buy seeds, ploughing material and fertilizers for the field. In April this year Khemchand hanged to death in his house leaving behind his two children and ageing parents to fend for themselves.

In Bundelkhand a human tragedy is unfolding on a mammoth proportion, with Rs 4500 crore of outstanding debt, helpless farmers are succumbing to the pressure, the administration is adding to their woes. The apathy of the Akhilesh government has snuffed out their last hope.

Over a thousand suicides in the last two and half years did bring in money and attention to Bundelkhand. A Rs 7000 crore package from the central government is not showing much results. Politicians have been farming benefits for them, but for farmers who commit suicide to terminate the cycle of debt even death does not end their trauma. It just gets transferred to the next generation.

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