12, Oct 2015
CONGRESS MLA FROM SARDULGARH IN MANSA SAID THE ` 3 LAKH GRANT BY GOVT WILL TRIGGER MORE SUICIDES
MANSA/BATHINDA: A few months ago, 15- year- old Rimpy had topped Class 9 in a government school near her village. Now she is worried who will pay her school fee and that of her younger brother. Their father, Sukhmandar Singh, was found hanging from a tree in their village, Behman Diwana, in Bathinda district on October 5. His wife said he still owes ` 3 lakh to the commission agent.
For village after village in the cotton belt of Punjab, it has been a harvest of despair. It is the worst-ever cotton crisis to hit the state, which is the fourth largest producer of the crop in the country. Fields, which at this time of the year used to glisten with white gold, wear a black, smoky look as the whitefly has sapped the life out of cotton flowers. The gloom is taking a human and social toll as distressed farmers are cancelling marriage palace bookings, some even their own weddings. Tractors are being sold and jewellery mortgaged.
Unable to pay the fee, children of small cotton farmers are dropping out of school. At least 17 suicides have been reported in the past two months, mainly in Bathinda and Mansa districts.