Belagavi: It was almost as if he had willed his own death. A few days after he pleaded with the government for mercy killing over his financial troubles caused by the failure of sugar factories to settle his long pending bills, a sugarcane grower of Belagavi district, Shankar Matolli, whose health had suffered as a result of the stress, died in a local hospital late Sunday.
The ailing farmer from Khanapur, had written in desperation to both the state government and the Centre last week as he saw no way out of his financial troubles. Admitted to the Belagavi civil hospital by his family for treatment, he breathed his last late on Sunday.
Ironically, responding to his letters to the governments at the state and Centre, the factories paid up their dues two days ago. But it was too late for Matolli, who was already on his death bed. The news couldn’t even get a smile out of him or his family as he had suffered the ultimate defeat at the hands of the factories and their callous disregard for farmers, who toil in the fields and get no reward for their hard work.
The state government too has remained a mute spectator to sugar factories refusing to settle the bills of farmers for long periods over the past few years. Matolli was waiting to be paid Rs 40,000 by the Shivasagar Sugar Factory and `90,000 by the Soubhagyalaxmi Sugar Factory in Belagavi. He had failed to get good returns for the cane he supplied to various sugar factories in Belagavi and his health began to deteriorate under the stress of trying to get his dues from them over the last few weeks.
When his condition worsened his family admitted him to the civil hospital. But even then, the factories did not come to his rescue although his family requested them for help them meet his medical expenses.
As Matolli found his health deteriorating he and his family wrote to the state government and Centre on June 9 for a mercy death to put him out of his misery. And now he has finally got his wish. But will it wake up the government at last to the plight of sugarcane growers, or will it remain as callous as the factories which harass them?