Ten days back in Tanjore, Selvaraj, a 58-year-old sugarcane farmer after checking all the possible options decided to increase the depth of the borewell in his farm for water. This was the last option before him to save his 6-acre farming land which had sugarcane sown in it.
For the last two years, this land and the sugarcane produced in it had been the sole source of Selvaraj's income. While he had been a regular in dispersing his raw materials to the sugarcane factory, he never got over Rs 1 lakh from the factory. Added to this, he had borrowed money and spent Rs 1.5 lakh to increase the depth of the borewell. From 45 feet, he dug it further to 110 feet and yet was disappointed with the result.
The worst drought in 150 years that has struck the state of Tamil Nadu again ensured that his borewell was dry even at 150 feet deep.
The fear of a failed season and lack of money to repay his debt, Selvaraj, like many others in the state decided to call it quits. At his residence when no one was around, the father of three hung himself. Selvaraj is one among the 400 odd farmers who committed suicide in the state of Tamil Nadu.
As of now the government of Tamil Nadu has identified 89 deceased and ex-gratia of Rs 3 lakh has been given to the families of those identified by the state.
Over the last six months, the farmers across the state have been protesting seeking assistance due to the poor weather conditions that the state has been facing. Apart from the extreme drought in the state, it is seen that the water from neighbouring states has also not been released. "We are like the second class citizens of the country and no one cares about our needs. We live or die, it will be the same," said a farmer from the Cauvery delta region.
Although the farmers protested at Jantar Mantar for over a month, which captured the attenton of the media across the country, but the farmers returned disappointed unable to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Repeated promises and the following inaction of the state government has pushed the farmers to edge. As the political turmoil in the state continues, horrific stories of farmers ending their lives has become a regular news.