Two days after attending Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally for farmers in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh, a 70-year-old farmer hanged himself, unable to cope with the burden of debt and dashed hopes of a loan waiver from the government.
Harinandan Prasad left a suicide note, where he spoke of his concerns about losing his farm land for failing to repay a bank loan. The note said he had received a recovery notice from the bank and was under a lot of pressure from its field officers.
Government records show the man had taken a loan of Rs 1.94 lakh in 2015. The pending amount, with interest, was Rs 2.18 lakh.
Over the last three years, Harinandan Prasad had managed to repay around Rs 35,000. He had pinned his hopes on a Rs 1 lakh waiver, that was promised to farmers under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's loan waiver scheme.
The loan waiver scheme announced last year was showcased by the BJP as one of the biggest such schemes by a state. Nearly 87 lakh farmers were expected to benefit under it.
The UP government said the bank had cleared Mr Prasad's waiver. But the local government officials had put in on hold, contending the farmer had more than 2 hectares of land and so did not qualify for a waiver.
The family had contested this claim, saying they have only 1.61 hectares or 4 acres of land. The local administration has said they will get the plot measured again.
Sarvesh Kumar Dikshit, the Additional District Magistrate, said Mr Prasad's name was not in the first list for loan waivers.
"But then he complained, using the government's e-portal. In the second round, his claim was recommended by the bank, but denied by the tehsil office. We are inquiring into the matter," he said.
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