9 November 2011
The latest incident has been that of Varghese alias Raju (48), who committed suicide by consuming poison at his house on Monday night. The farmer, who hailed from Trikkaipatta village, took the extreme step unable to bear the debt burden.
The family members of the deceased said that he had availed Rs300,000 from banks for cultivating ginger and plantain. He could not repay the loan as the crops failed.
The family members said Raju had tried in vain many sources to raise funds for repaying the loan.
Earlier on November 4, another farmer Asokan (46) committed suicide under similar circumstances. Asokan ended his life by consuming poison after coming under debt burden.
Asokan had cultivated ginger in a leased land in the neighbouring Karnataka state by raising Rs200,000 as loan from various sources.
The suicide spree started with C P Sasidharan (56), a small scale farmer hailing from Mothakkara Mallisserikkunnil. Sasidharan, who has been undertaking farming by taking land under lease, ended his life after his debt mounted to Rs200,000.
In his suicide note Sasidharan stated that he could not repay the loan as he had suffered huge loss from farming this year. His family members said that he was tense due to his inability to repay the loans.
Political leaders in Wayand see the suicides the result of a crash in the prices of ginger in the market and diseases afflicting the crop.
The price of fresh ginger in markets in the district, which is the largest ginger cultivating area in the state, was Rs400 a bag (60kg) in September this year as against Rs1,200 a bag in the corresponding period last year.
The price of old ginger crashed from Rs3,000 a bag in September 2010 to Rs800 a bag. The sharp fall in prices put the farmers in extreme hardship.
Communist Party of India farmer leader Satyan Mokeri said that the district would witness a repeat of the suicide spree in 2004 if the government did not intervene to provide relief to the farmers.
As many as 186 farmers ended their life after being trapped in vicious cycles of mounting loan liabilities in the district from 2001 to 2004. The suicide spree came to an end after the government waived the loans of the debt-ridden farmers.
The leaders have called for a similar waiver of the loans of ginger farmers this time to relieve them from unbearable burden.