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Jul 17, 2012 at 08:44am IST

Gujarat: Farmer committs suicide, Modi govt draws up contingency plan

Amreli: Gujarat is facing a drought-like crisis and making things worse, there's been a farmer suicide in Amreli. Refusing to accept the Agriculture Minister's assurance that there's no spectre of drought, the Narendra Modi government has now drawn up a contingency plan for 75 talukas.

After a brief spell of rain, farmer Babubhai had taken a loan to sow seeds in his fields. But then came the dry spell, and fearing that his crop would fail and plunge him into debt, Babubhai consumed poison.

Savitaben, Babubhai's wife, says, "The crop failed twice. He had taken a loan of over Rs 2 lakh. He was left with no other option."

Goganbhai, Babubhai's brother, says, "He already had a debt of about Rs 1.43 lakh. And he had got an additional loan of Rs 72,000 for sowing the seed. I don't know how I will repay all this loan."

The state government, clearly worried over the delayed monsoon, is drawing up contingency plans.

Dilip Sanghani, the state Agriculture Minister, who had earlier said there was no spectre of drought in Gujarat, this time took the issue seriously. "We are monitoring the situation and have asked farmers to change their crop pattern in case the situation remains like this for longer," he says.

Although the situation is not alarming yet, further delay in the monsoon could leave lakhs of farmers in the lurch.