The Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) has decided to send two delegations to study the agrarian stress in Wayanad district which has resulted in eight farmer suicides over the last six months.

Briefing reporters after a meeting of the LDF State committee here on Thursday, front convener Vaikom Viswan said the recurrence of farmer suicides in the district and certain other parts of the State such as Kannur and Kottayam was a matter of serious concern. The last LDF government had put an end to farmer suicides with various its administrative and other measures. It was as if they had resumed once the United Democratic Front came to power and the attitude of the ruling alliance appeared to be the same as that when farmers committed suicide in large numbers when it was in power the last time, he said.

Citing Additional Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar's report which reportedly stated that the situation in Wayanad was very disturbing on account of the crisis in the farm sector, Mr. Viswan said there was urgent need for the government to take a humane attitude towards the issue and take all necessary steps, including waiver of farm loans, to bring the suicides to a halt. The government had so far done nothing to assist the farmers in distress and the family of only one of the deceased farmers was given any assistance, that too only Rs.1,000.

The farmers were not getting agricultural loans. Therefore, they were being forced to take non-agricultural loans. Since several of them took up farming on land taken on lease, they were not eligible for farm loans. This also forced them to raise funds through other means. The education loans taken by them were also proving to be a heavy burden. With the prices of several of the commodities being cultivated by them going south, the farmers were finding it impossible to hold on for long, he pointed out.

Mr. Viswan said the first of the two LDF delegations would have himself, K.E. Ismail (CPI), N.K. Premachandran (RSP), C.K. Nanu (JD-S), A.K. Saseendran (NCP), P.C. Thomas (KC-Anti-Merger Group), and Kadannappally Ramachandran (Congress-S) as its members. The team would visit Wayanad on Sunday. The second team would be led by Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan and would have C. Divakaran (CPI), A.A. Aziz (RSP), Mathew T. Thomas (JD-S), A.C. Shanmughadas (NCP), V. Surendran Pillai (KC-Anti-Merger Group) and P.V. Varghese (Congress-S) as its members. The team would visit Wayanad on November 26.

The two delegations, he said, would place very clear proposals before the government on what should be done for the crisis-hit farmers of Wayanad. If the government did not act with a sense of urgency, the situation would get thrown back to the days when a large number of farmers committed suicide, the LDF convener said.