After the tragic demise of farmer Kanhaiya Lal Sinha in his hometown, Chhuiha Tendukona, in Mahasamund district, a heated political debate has ensued regarding farmer suicides in the state. The opposition party, BJP, has accused the ruling Congress party of being responsible for the increasing number of farmer suicides, citing that 657 farmers, including Kanhaiya Lal, have taken their lives during Baghel's rule.
During a press conference held at the BJP party office, senior spokesperson Kedar Gupta emphasized that the government's claims of being farmer-friendly were hollow. He presented evidence from a suicide note found with Kanhaiya Lal's body, indicating that the farmer was burdened with debt. This note also contradicted the government's assertions of having waived farmers' loans. Gupta further lamented that the situation in the state is alarming, with farmers resorting to suicide every third day, while the administration seemed more interested in defaming the deceased rather than addressing the issue.
In response, the BJP disclosed data presented in the Chhattisgarh assembly, revealing the number of farmer suicides in recent years: 233 in 2019, 227 in 2020, 71 in 2021, 133 in 2022, and 13 from January to June 2023. Additionally, they highlighted the faulty KYC update that has left around 21 lakh farmers ineligible for the benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme.
To investigate the matter thoroughly, the BJP has formed a five-member fact-finding committee, with ex-Home Minister Nanki Ram Kanwar as the convener, and MP Chunni Lal Sahu, Sandeep Sharma, Pawan Sahu, and Rupkumari Chauhan as members. This committee will meet the families of the deceased farmers on Saturday.
As part of their demands, the BJP has urged the government to compensate the victim's family with Rs 50 lakh. However, the district administration has put forth its stance, stating that the deceased farmer owned 2.4 acres of land and sold paddy worth Rs 4,34,952. His son had received a loan waiver of Rs 7,747 and also benefited from the Rajeev Gandhi Nyay Yojana, receiving Rs 38,916 as compensation. The administration clarified that there were no pending loans in any cooperative bank, but the deceased farmer and his son had jointly taken a loan of Rs 4.60 lakhs from a private bank, which remained unpaid.
Furthermore, it was mentioned that the deceased farmer was also a beneficiary of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, a housing scheme. The administration took prompt action and provided Rs 20,000 as interim relief to the family after the farmer's tragic passing.