Moved by the plight of a farmer who made it to the hot seat of game show Kaun Banega Crorepati, Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who is doing his bit to help the farmer community, has urged the public to step forward and help pay off their loans.
A farmer named Anantkumar Khanke made it to the show, and spoke about his struggle to survive. This led Amitabh Bachchan to urge people to come forth and help the farmers in whatever way possible.
Khanke said his annual income is around Rs 60,000 if they face a good rainy season. When there is a shortage of water, he pays Rs 100 per gallon for farming.
Big B, who himself does a lot for the farmers in his own way, narrated an incident which sensitised him to the farmers’ plight, read a statement.
He narrated: “When I was shooting in Visakhapatnam around a decade back, I read in the newspaper then, that farmers are committing suicide for amounts like Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000. I felt very bad reading this. When I came back, I contacted an NGO here and asked them if I could be of any help in saving the lives of farmers and that’s how I got a list of 30-40 people whose loans I could pay off.
“A few years ago, there was distress in Vidarbha due to shortage of rainfall and I cleared loans of around 100 farmers and recently in Maharashtra, I have ensured that the loans of around 360 farmers have been paid off to the banks. My next step is to help clear loans of approximately 850 farmers in Uttar Pradesh.”
He said that by mentioning this, he is hopeful that even if around 10 or 12 people, who find it within their capacity and capability, step forward and help in saving the lives of farmers, they would have “set an example for many more and in turn so many farmers’ lives would be saved”.
“I would urge people to understand the plight of our ‘anna-data’ (farmers) and the kind of hardships they are facing. I do not want to boast about myself but I want everyone to help our farmers who face the shortage of even having basic necessities.
“If anyone of you, individually or collectively can pay off their loans, I join my hands to request you to please help them. This will be the biggest contribution you can make to the farmers of our country.”
Kaun Banega Crorepati is aired on Sony Entertainment Television.