Annexure-6: Alarming Increase in Distress Conditions in Bundelkhand (Based Mainly on Media Reports and a Few Interviews)
Newspapers have prominently highlighted an official survey in Banda district which found that over 4 lakh (out of a total population over 15 lakh) were affected by hunger and nearly 40 thousand were on the verge of starvation. (see Dainik Jagran, Kanpur edition, January 4). Baberu tehsil is worst affected. - Dainik Jagran Jan. 4, 2004.
Suicides Related to Hunger and Debt
According to Avdhesh Gautam, Director of a voluntary organisation Panchayat Adhyayan Sandarbh Kendra, who has monitored reports on suicides in the media supported by other sources, as many as 200 suicides took place in just one district (Banda district) up to August 25 and out of these the overwhelming majority was related to poverty, debt and economic stress.
(Based on interview on telephone)
- In year 2003 two women committed suicide in a single family – Aseena Begum and her daughter. The mother could no longer withstand her daughter's hunger (Dainik Jagran, Kanpur, Jan. 4, 2004) (District Banda)
- In year 2003 Siyanandan Yadav committed suicide in Jakhi village of Kamasin Block. No food had been cooked or eaten in this household for two days (Dainik Jagran, Kanpur, Jan. 4, 2004) (District Banda)
- In year 2003 in Gatpatipur Kalan village of Naraini tehsil Lallu Singh committed suicide (District Banda), Dainik Jagran, Jan 4, 2004)
- In Hardauni village of Barokhar Block Barelal Raidas committed suicide, his brother Chotulal said later that his children were forced to go to bed hungry on several days. (Dainik Jagran, Jan. 4, 2004)
- Other hunger related suicides reported in 2003 from Banda district included Ravindra Singh of Palra village and Punha of Beldan village (Dainik Jagran Jan. 4, 2004)
- In Padui village of Sadar tehsil, Kishorilal Sahu, a farmer committed suicide in July 2006. He had Rs. 59000 loan outstanding against him (Rs. 50000 private and Rs. 9000 bank loan). 90 other families in the same village are indebted to a single bank. Recovery notices have been served to over a dozen of them. A total of 6 debt-ridden persons have committed suicide in this village. Village pradhan says combining private and bank loans almost all farmers are indebted.
Bable Yadav (18 years) committed suicide in year 2000. His family of six brothers was indebted to the extent of Rs. 50,000. When he had no money for clothes, he committed suicide.
Bindu Yadav (18) committed suicide in year 2001. His family was indebted.
In year 2004 Ramashankar (16) hanged himself. His family was indebted but the boy made things worse by involvement in gambling.
Raidas (21 years) committed suicide after getting indebted in the course of getting treatment for illness.
Kamla (25) wife of Avadhesh Sahu committed suicide leaving behind 4 children. In this village maximum population is of dalits.
Social activists like Pushpendra blamed neglect of irrigation for the poverty of villagers - Amar Ujala July 7 and 8, 2006
Srinagar, Mahoba, indebted farmer Ramesh Chandra first tried to supplement farm income by taking up another job, when even that did not help to pay back Allababad bank's loan, he committed suicide - Amar Ujala Aug. 28
Mahoba - 4 farmers have committed suicide due to growing indebtedness during last 4 months (1) Mahari village of Kulpahar tehsil - Jagdish Rawat (35 years) farmer of 27 bigha land committed suicide - on May 26 after accumulation of Rs. 2.50 lakh debt (2) Indebted farmer Munna lied down on the railway track with his wife. His wife died but villagers dragged away Munna at the last minute. He lost his hand. (3) In village Baras of Srinagar are Babulal first lost a part of his land to moneylenders, then committed suicide on August 9. (4) In village Bhandra of Srinagar area indebted Ramesh Chandra Tiwari committed suicide - Amar Ujala Aug. 28, 2006. Ramesh's son says bank officials had threatened to send his father to jail, due to which he hanged himself in his fields. - Dainik Jagran Aug. 23. Ramesh had 7 acres unirrigated land.
In Baragaon, Kakarha village, (Pailani P.S., Banda district) Ramashankar, an indebted farmer committed suicide on July 27. He had borrowed Rs. 40,000 from Tulsi Grameen Bank, but due to adverse weather conditions his farm did not yield adequately to enable him to return loan. Recently bank officers threatened him to return loan or else his land and house will be auctioned. - Dainik Jagaran July 28, 2006 80% families are indebted in this village, 20% have received recovery notices. Over Rs. 6 lakhs are owned by them to banks. Tubewells have not been repaired for a long time.
Loans Taken By Influential Rich People In the Name of Poor People
- 6 dalits in Narsinghpur village of Naraini tehsil (District Banda) were duped badly as loans worth Rs. 40,000 each were illegally taken in their name. They realised this only when recovery proceedings were initiated against them. (Amar Ujala, May 23, 2005)
- A loan of Rs. 33,000 was taken against the name of Maiyadin of village Sahpalan, tehsil Naraini from Tulsi Gramin Bank, Naraini. At the time of the transaction, Maiyadin was away in Panna, Madhya Pradesh. - Aaj, May 23, 2005)
- Jarar village, Girwan P.S., District Banda - 6 workers complained that false loans of Rs. 10,000 each were taken in their name by their 'master' on whose fields they work - Dainik Jagran Aug. 20
Achelal Raidas of Madhopur Panchayat (Mahua Block of Banda district) suffered greatly as influential persons obtained loans against his 6 bigha land of which he got very little.
When Kamta returned after working in Delhi to his village Bhandra, (in Srinagar P.S., Mahoba district) and learnt that someone had borrowed against his land, he suffered a heart attack and died immediately – Dainik Jagran. Aug. 29.
Dom families of Neduwa Makhanpur village, Naraini tehsil - other have taken loans in their names, grabbed their antyodaya ration cards and occupied their Indira Awas home while the doms have to share their huts and pigs. Their land pattas are also occupied by the rich.
In Bhanvarpur village of Naraini tehsil (Dist. Banda) Kamta's son Lakhan used to work for a rich land-owner. When he refused to toil under exploitative conditions amounting to bondage, kerosene oil was poured over him and he was burnt to death. Bhuri Devi of the some village alleged that her husband had to work for 14 years against a debt of Rs. 1300 taken 14 years back. After his death Bhuri Devi was being asked to work by the landlord who said that Rs. 1800 is still to be paid back. Kally said his father Snehi died after toiling for 12 years in bondage. Kallu also worked for one year after this in bondage. When he refused to work the landlord told him he still has to pay back 125 maunds of wheat. - Dainik Jagran - 23 May 2005. The bonded workers were paid only 2.5 kg of grain. When they protested against bondage village paths and toilet places were closed for them.
Inability to pay back loans is leading to serious indebtness problems for buyers of tractors. Two farmers have become landless in the process. Farmer is forced to continue to pay back loan even when tractor is taken away from for non-payment of past instalments. – Amar Ujala, July 2, 2006.
Corruption in giving loans under K.C.C. (Kisan Credit Card) scheme has prepared the ground for the likelihood of loss of their land by a large number of farmers - Amar Ujala.
Srinagar-Mahoba- Following five year drought 50 percent farmers of the area are indebted.-Amar Ujala Aug. 28, 2006
Old widow dies, had gone without food for several days before death - Aaj Aug.28, 2006.
Five poverty related deaths have taken place in Narhi village (Naraini tehsil, Banda district). On July 29, villagers gathered to observe 'dhikkar divas' and threatened to commit collective suicide if they are not provided income and employment opportunities – Dainik Jagran July 30. In this village Bhagwat Prasad Prajapati died in 2005 due to extreme poverty/hunger. He was badly indebted. After his death creditors troubled his sone, Sundarlal, a class XI student, to such an extent that he tried to hang himself and could be only at the last moment by his cousin - Amar Ujala July 30. At the 'dhikkar divas' July 29 there were several persons who were extremely hungry. The land of them is occupied by influential persons of neighbouring villages. Despite suffering from acute poverty and hunger they don't have BPL cards. Only 4 or 5 have got jobs under employment guarantee scheme but not one has got work. Kamla is one victim of hunger-related deaths in the village. She was the lone earning member. After her death her children have to beg for food. When Shambhu Prajapati died, food had not been cooked for five days in the family of six.-Amar Ujala July 30.
Suicide and deaths related to disappointment with Public Distribution System
Sitaram Raidas (45 years) in Nivaich village, Sadar Tehsil, Banda district, learnt on Aug. 14 that his antyodaya card has been cancelled even though he remains extremely poor. On the same night he had a heart attack and died. There was no sheet to cover his body so a cloth carried by him was used. Next morning villagers collected donations for his funeral. Villagers said his name had been entered for employment guarantee scheme but he did not get job card and he had no work for last 20 days. There was not a single kg. of food in the home at the time of death. His sons Chunnu (14 years) and Vanshgopal (16 years) were away working as migrant workers. – Amar Ujala Aug. 8, 2006.
Other such reported deaths/suicides
Chunvad Ali of Semaria village (in Chitrakut district) and Lalu Raidas (30 years) a dalit youth of Patra village.