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Kerala Farmer Kills Self Over "Mounting Debts", Ninth Suicide In 2 Months

Kerala Farmer Kills Self Over 'Mounting Debts', Ninth Suicide In 2 Months
Some farmers who killed themselves reportedly received recovery notices from banks. (Representational)

Apparently distressed by mounting debts and damage to crops due to the August floods, a 49-year-old farmer from Thrissur district allegedly killed himself on Friday, taking the total number of farmer deaths in Kerala in the last two months to nine.

Police sources said the farmer, Jijo Paul, committed suicide by hanging himself inside his house at Mala in Thrissur district. His wife saw him hanging inside the first floor bedroom and informed police.

Jijo Paul's relatives said he had taken loans from various banks since the floods in August last year.

Since the devastation during the worst floods in a century, the high range Idukki district has reported eight deaths of farmers due to debt, following crop failure or loss of livelihood.

James, 52, a farmer from Adimali in the district, was found hanging in a local teak plantation on Tuesday.

The farmer, whose pepper vines was destroyed in the deluge, had failed to repay his loans which he availed from banks, his relatives said.

Besides farm loans from different banks, James had availed a loan for the education of his children, they said.

Other farmers who took killed themselves are: Santhosh, Sahadevan, Johny Mathayi, Raju, Sreekumar,Rajan and Surendran.

Some of them reportedly received recovery notices from the respective banks as they had failed to repay the loans.

Considering the gravity of the situation, authorities had asked all banks to stop recovery proceedings on the loans availed by farmers. Government has also issued an order declaring moratorium on loans disbursed in the district till October 2019 in view of the floods.

Idukki and Thrissur districts had witnessed massive destruction during the flood fury in August, when over 400 people had lost their lives in the state.

Meanwhile, protesting against the government's "insensitive response" to the farmers' issue, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala said he would observe a fast on March 6 at Kattapana in Idukki.

Ramesh Chennithala told reporters that the state government should write off farm loans of up to Rs 5 lakh to give the much needed relief to the farmers.

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Kerala has been hit by the worst floods in a 100 years. The Kerala Government estimates Rs 21,000 crore will be needed to rebuild the state. The funds are required to rebuild hundreds of flooded villages, thousands of damaged and destroyed homes and 10,000 kilometres of ravaged roads.
This Onam as Kerala struggles to rebuild after the most devastating floods in a century, NDTV has organised a special telethon to raise funds for Kerala. We have specific goals - to enable the rebuilding of villages in the worst-affected districts and provide immediate assistance in terms of rehabilitation and food kits to people in the worst affected areas . All donations will go directly to our partner NGO Plan India.
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