A 54-year-old farmer in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai district has committed suicide after two borewells he desperately dug a few days ago did not strike water to save his crop. The farmer, Balraj, had borrowed nearly Rs 1 lakh from a money lender to dig the borewells.
Balraj’s family says the dejected farmer consumed insecticide on Friday and died the next day in hospital.
The farmer owned a six-acre farm in which he had cultivated vegetables after the dal he had sowed earlier failed due to inadequate water in this southern district.
“He was desperate to save the crop. Even after drilling 400 feet there was no water in the two borewells he dug. He was shattered and worried about repaying the two loans he took for borewell,” Sasi Kumar, a relative, said.
Investigators say the farmer had a total loan of around Rs 11 lakh and much was spent on buying farm equipment. They say he had borrowed Rs 4 lakh to send his daughter Rampriya to an engineering college.
The final year student said, “We depend on agriculture. We did not receive rain over the last three years. There was no water. Even now I have to pay Rs 25000 to my college.”
The average ground water level in Madurai district is between 100 and 600 feet deep. An ambitious “58 Canal Project” that would connect 58 canals and improve irrigation to this parched area is behind schedule for over a decade.
“We are doing our best to distribute available water,” said District Collector Veera Raghava Rao.
Just last week a farmer had killed himself in the Thanjavur district after a bank seized his tractor for defaulting loan repayment.