In Kerala, another farmer allegedly committed suicide on Friday. In the past two months, this has been the ninth case in the state when a farmer has allegedly ended his life after the mounting debts and damage caused to their crops due to the August floods.
Jijo Paul who was a 49-year-old farmer from Thrissur district committed suicide by hanging himself inside his house at Mala, police sources said. The police were informed about the suicide by Paul’s wife who saw him hanging inside the first bedroom.
According to Paul’s relatives, since the devastation during the worst floods in a century, he had taken loans from various banks which he was unable to pay following crop failure.
The high-range Idukki district has reported eight deaths of farmers due to debt, following crop failure or loss of livelihood, since the August floods.
On Tuesday, a 52-year-old farmer James from Adimali in the district was found hanging in a local teak plantation. His pepper vines were destroyed in the floods and had failed to repay his loans which he had availed from banks. Besides farm loans, James had availed education loan for his children, his relatives said.
Santhosh, Sahadevan, Johny Mathayi, Raju, Sreekumar, Rajan and Surendran are the names of other farmers who took their lives. Reportedly, as they had failed to repay the loans, some of them received recovery notices from the respective banks.
Idukki and Thrissur districts had witnessed massive destruction during the August floods and over 400 people had lost their lives in the state. Considering the extreme situation, the government had asked all banks to stop recovery proceedings on the loans availed by farmers and also issued an order declaring postponement on loans availed by the farmers till October 2019 in view of the floods.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala who is protesting against the government’s response to the farmers’ issue, said that on March 6, he would observe a fast at Kattappana in Idukki. He also told the reporters that in order to give certain relief to the farmers, the state government should write off farm loans of up to Rs 5 lakh.