Withering crops, mounting debts and no sign of any respite in the near future continues to take a heavy toll on the farming community with nine farmers reported dead in two days.
In Erode, a farmer committed suicide on Tuesday as he was forced to deal with not just mounting losses due to drought, but pressure from banks to repay loans. According to sources, farmer V M Palanisamy (45), a resident of Velampalayam near Odaimedu in Erode, had availed loan from a nationalised bank several years ago to buy a tractor.
After drought in 2016, he was unable to withstand the losses incurred in farming and could not repay any money towards the loan. Around 20 days ago, bank officials asked Palanisamy to repay the loans as soon as possible. Frustrated, Palanisamy committed suicide by hanging in a shed near his farmland on Tuesday morning around 5 am.
In another incident in Coimbatore, a farmer, who recently suffered cardiac arrest after huge losses due to drought, died on Tuesday.
The farmer Ramasamy (62) of Moolakurumbapalayan near Annur in the outskirts of the city was working on a 2.5-acre parcel of land. He too faced huge losses in drought and reduced cultivation to just one acre. In December 2016, he again had to face withering banana crop and more losses. He had also borrowed Rs 2 lakh in crop loans.
In Namakkal, a 60-year-old woman farmer died of cardiac arrest after seeing her withered onion crop on Tuesday. The deceased, Kamatchi, from Vadavathur near Erumapatti, had cultivated onion in two acres.
In a similar incident, a 62-year-old farmer, Arunachalam, a resident of Thenkumarai village in Thalaivasal Taluk, reportedly died on his fields after taking stock of wilted crops.
Meanwhile, in Nagapattinam, two farmers – D Seenivasan (65) from Aayakkaaranpulam and P Pottu Ammal (62) from East Panjanathikulam – died of heart attack at their homes on Tuesday.
In Pudukottai district, a coconut farmer died near Ponnamaravathi reportedly after witnessing his coconut trees withering, on Tuesday.
According to sources, Alagappan (65), son of Perumal, a resident of Karuppakudipatti, had nurtured around 500 coconut trees in his five-acre land. On Tuesday morning, Alagappan was found crying in his grove and soon, he collapsed. Meanwhile, in Cuddalore, 70-year-old farmer Veerappan and his wife Arayi (62) died of heart attack in a gap of few hours at Keezhamankudi village near Bhuvanagiri on Monday night.