'Kerala govt is responsible,' says Congress as Kuttanad farmer dies by suicide after civil supplies corporation delays payment

K G Prasad, 55, of Ambedkar Colony at Kunnumma, Thakazhi consumed poison on Friday afternoon and died at a hoaspital in Thiruvalla on Saturday. 
Image used for representational purpose only.
Image used for representational purpose only.

ALAPPUZHA: A farmer at Kuttanad in Kerala died by suicide as the Supplyco (Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation) delayed payment for the paddy procured and banks denied him a loan citing low Cibil score. 

K G Prasad, 55, of Ambedkar Colony at Kunnumma, Thakazhi consumed poison on Friday afternoon and died at a hoaspital in Thiruvalla on Saturday. 

Prasad was the district president of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh. He consumed poison after sharing his ordeal with Sivarajan, district secretary of BKS.

According to relatives, Prasad had approached banks seeking a loan to start paddy cultivation for the second cycle. 

A suicide note recovered from his room said that he had taken a loan from a bank in 2011. He had repaid the loan in 2020 by availing the one-time- settlement scheme. The principal amount was paid and the interest was waived by the state government. 

“Last season he had cultivated paddy and the government paid the procurement amount of paddy as a loan based on the paddy receipt sheet (PRS). Though Prasad applied for a loan to start paddy farming for the second season, the banks rejected his application citing low CIBIL score due to the delay of repayment of the Paddy Receipt Sheet (PRS) loan by the state government and the old loan taken from the bank. It led to his suicide,” said the relative.

As per the agreement between Supplyco and the farmers, Supplyco directs banks to pay the procurement amount as loan to the farmers on the submission of PRS. Normally the amount will be repaid by the state government, however, this time the government failed to disburse the amount on time. 

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan who visited Thiruvalla government hospital, said he will raise the issue with the state government. Civil Supplies minister G R Anil said the PRS loan does not add to the burden of farmers and the state government has full responsibility in repayment of the loan.

The government procures paddy from farmers at the rate of Rs 28.10 per kg of which Rs 20.60 is Central share while state contributes Rs 7.80. The government maintains that delay in payment of Central share has delayed distribution of paddy procurement price in Kerala. In these circumstances, the state government decided to pay the amount as PRS loan.

Senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said the state government was responsible for the suicide of the farmer. Opposition leader V D Satheesan said Prasad was the victim of the state government's apathy towards farmers. He said the the failure of the state government in paddy procurement led to chaos.

The BJP staged a road block in Alappuzha protesting the delay in payment of paddy procurement dues which led to Prasad’s suicide. Earlier another farmer - K K Rajappan 88, of Nalukaduchirayil in Vandanam had ended his life in September, due to the delay in payment of the paddy procurement arrears.

(Suicide helplines -- Maithri, Cochin: +91 239 6272; Sumaitri, New Delhi: 2338 9090, Sneha, Chennai: 91-44-2464 0050, 91-44-2464 0060, Aasra, Mumbai: 9820466726, Fortis MentalHealth: 8376804102))

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express