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Governor, opposition slam govt as Kerala farmer dies by suicide

Governor, opposition slam govt as Kerala farmer dies by suicide

Alappuzha: In the southern district of Kuttanad, a farmer committed suicide on Saturday, purportedly because he was having financial difficulties after not receiving payment for the purchase of paddy.

According to a suicide note allegedly written by the farmer, K G Prasad, the state government and some banks were to blame for him taking such a drastic measure, which led to a political controversy in the state.

Governor Arif Muhammed Khan, who visited a hospital in nearby Thiruvalla where the man's body was kept, said farmers have been facing a huge crisis in the state and his "heart goes out to Prasad's family".

Expressing deep grief over the death, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, V D Satheesan alleged that the government failed in paddy procurement and payments for farmers were due for months.

The 55-year-old Prasad, a paddy farmer hailing from Ambedkar Colony in Thakazhi here, died on Friday night, police said.

Though he was admitted to a hospital in Thiruvalla, he died in the early hours of today, they added.

Though police are yet to confirm if he took the extreme step due to the financial crisis, Prasad's friends and other farmers alleged that he ended his life as he failed to get money from the government for the paddy he procured.

In a purported suicide note written by the farmer, he alleged that the state government and some banks were responsible for his death.

The letter was shown by some television channels in the morning.

He also alleged that he received the paddy procurement price for the last season as post-harvest credit under the Paddy Receipt Sheet (PRS) scheme and the government's failure to repay it was the reason for the banks to deny him loan this time.

A farmer here told reporters that though Prasad had procured paddy, the government didn't give him payment for that and instead he received the amount as a loan.

"The state government should have paid this loan amount to the bank but they failed to do it. Naturally, it lowered the CIBIL score of Prasad. When he recently approached banks for a loan, the bank authorities denied him the amount citing his low CIBIL score," the farmer, close to him, said.

However, a police officer said they were yet to confirm if the financial crisis was the reason for the farmer taking the extreme step.

"As per the statement we received (from relatives), a person who was very close to him died recently and Prasad was depressed due to his unexpected demise," he said.

Condoling the farmer's death, Governor Khan said farmers generally are very constrained and living in real difficulty.

He said he would look into the matter and see what really can be done to make the situation somewhat easy for the farmers.

"I am not in a position to say...but will take up this matter with the state and the central governments," he told reporters in Thiruvalla.

He also said that the funds to be released by the central government were already released so where was the problem?

Earlier in the day, Mr Khan attacked the state government alleging that they were spending money on celebrations but not giving priority to poor people.

"They are spending lavish money on celebrations. If the poor farmer...poor woman... who is on the rolls of the social welfare department is not the priority of the government, what can I say? The people of the state will take notice of it," he added.

The opposition Congress and the BJP also came down heavily on the CPI(M)-led LDF government in the farmer's suicide issue.

Senior Congress leader Satheesan said Prasad was the last victim of the state government's brutal neglect towards farmers.

"Even in his suicide note, Prasad registered his protest against the government," he said and warned that if this was the authority's approach, more farmers would take extreme steps in the southern state.

After visiting the Thiruvalla hospital, where the body of the farmer was kept, BJP state chief K Surendran accused the Pinarayi Vijayan government of being responsible for Prasad's death.

"The state government's anti-farmer policies were the reason for his suicide," he alleged.

The tragedy wouldn't have happened if the farmers had been given at least the amount allotted by the Centre, Surendran added.

Agriculture Minister P Prasad was abroad and was not available for comment.

Civil Supplies Minister G R Anil, however, came out defending the government and said that PRS arrears were not the reason for the farmer's suicide.

Rejecting the charges of non-payment of the loan amount by the government, he said the money had been paid for the rice procured from farmers.

There was no such situation in the state in which farmers were not able to avail bank loans due to low CIBIL score because of PRS arrears, the minister further said.

With PTI inputs

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TAGS:Farmer suicideKerala News
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