A day after the conclusion of the 23rd party congress of the CPI(M) at Kannur where the party general secretary Sitaram Yechury described Kerala as far better than any developed economies in Europe, the State was shocked by four suicides, all because of debt trap and the callousness of the official machinery.
Rajeev, a 45 year old farmer at Niranam in Thiruvalla took his own life faced with mounting debts because of three successive crop failures. “He had debts running to Rs six lakh and his efforts to get compensation for the crop loss ended in failure. He had borrowed from the CPI(M)-owned primary cooperative bank and the self help groups. What he got as compensation for crop failure in eight acre farm was a mere Rs 2,000/-,” said Rajeev Madhusoodanan Pillai, his friend and fellow farmer. According to Pillai, there are hundreds of farmers in Niranam, a region known as Kerala’s Rice Bowl, who face mounting debt traps on account of crop failure.
Ernakulam woke up to a black Monday as a three-member family was found dead in the morning hours. Police team that rushed to the house suspect it to be a suicide as they got a suicide note left by the head of the family in which it has been stated that they were forced to resort to the extreme measure because of debts. “They have even left the names of persons to whom they owe money and have asked to sell of the house to repay the loans,” said a member of the investigating team.
R V Giri, president, Consortium of Indian Farmers Associations, an umbrella organisation of farmers in the country, while expressing shock over the suicide of Rajeev said that many such suicides have been reported from various places in Kerala, especially in the districts of Idukki, Wynadu and Alappuzha. “The authorities in the State, particularly the district administration, could have solved these cases with compassion,” Giri told The Pioneer.
Last week saw a farming family, having lost all their money because of crop failure getting evicted from their home during night hours by officials of the district cooperative bank in Muvattupuzha as part of distraining the house on charges of unpaid loans.
Mathew Kuzhalnadan, MLA, rushed to the Bank the next day and paid back the amount due to the bank from the family thereby saving the five-member family from a sure case of suicide.