Another Wayanad farmer commits suicide

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In yet another case of farmer's suicide in Kerala, a 55-year-old man allegedly ended his life by consuming a poisonous substance at Pulpally in the district, police said on Wednesday.

The deceased identified as Ankittan, hailing from Pulpally village is said to have consumed the poisonous substance Tuesday. Though he was rushed to a hospital by his relatives, the man died Wednesday morning.

In May, another debt-ridden farmer from Wayanad 53-year-old Dinesh Kumar had ended his life by consuming a poison-laced substance.

Dinesh had taken a loan of Rs 10 lakh from three banks and was reportedly facing recovery proceedings when he decided to take the extreme step.

Following Dinesh's suicide, Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi had sent a letter to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan seeking assistance to the deceased's family.

Gandhi, in his letter dated May 28, had said that he was "deeply saddened" by the suicide and requested the state government to conduct an inquiry while extending financial support to the family.

"Kumar's case isn't an isolated one. There has been a spate of farmer suicides in Wayanad, due to an inability to repay loans. What is disturbing is that while the Government of Kerala has announced a moratorium on repayment of farm loans till December 31, 2019, yet farmers are still being pressurised and hounded by loan collection agents," Gandhi had said in his letter.

In his reply to Gandhi's letter, Chief Minister Vijayan had said the issue of providing relief to the families of farmers, who committed suicide over failure to repay bank loans, needs to be raised in Parliament.

The Union Government needs to take a stand regarding the agricultural loans taken by farmers from commercial banks, he had said.

Kerala, which faced the worst deluge in 100 years in August last year, resulting in severe crop loss, has decided to approach the Reserve Bank of India seeking an extension of the moratorium on farmers loans till December 31.

Vijayan has also asked banks to be more considerate and make things less complicated for the farmers availing agricultural loans.

Eighteen debt-ridden farmers, who were unable to pay off their farm loan dues had committed suicide in the past one and half years in Kerala after banks began recovery procedures. 

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