BOLLYWOOD SUPERSTAR Amitabh Bachchan has voluntarily cleared more than 40 million rupees worth of farm debt in his home state of Uttar Pradesh, equivalent to around half a million pounds sterling.

On his online blog, the actor announced that he had 'taken care' of 1398 farmers by paying off their loans, adding that he felt a 'sense of accomplishment'.

Tens of thousands of Indian farmers struggle with debt, and for decades now, the farming industry has been blighted by drought, the depletion of the water table, declining productivity and a lack of modernisation. Farm suicides have been linked to these issues – at least 300,000 farmers have taken their lives since 1995.

Bachchan, who is 76, remains one of India's best-known actors. The loans he cleared were owed to the government-owned Bank of India, which issued a 'one time settlement document and certificate'.

"I shall wish of course to give these settlements, these confirmations that their loans have been paid off, personally," Bachchan wrote. Since it would difficult to bring all of the farmers to Mumbai city, where the actor lives, he later reserved a train coach to bring 70 of them to meet him to receive the bank documents.

Earlier this year, Bachchan paid off the loans of 350 farmers from Mumbai's Maharashtra state, following massive farmer protests last year demanding loan waivers and better crop prices.

The veteran actor has also been involved in controversy in connection with farm land. In 2007, a court ruled that a 90,000 sq ft plot had been illegally allocated to him. He faced fraud charges which were later withdrawn because he had abandoned his claim to the land.