Alleging that incidents of farmers committing suicide in West Bengal are on the rise, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Thursday demanded that “proper compensation” be given to their families.

“Altogether 32 farmers committed suicide in the State. The situation is grave, peasants can’t sell paddy. They are not getting work. The incidents of farmers committing suicide in the State are on the rise,” party’s (M) central committee member Shymal Chakrabarty said.

Briefing the media on the second day of the 23rd State conference of the party, he demanded that families of farmers who committed suicide be given “proper compensation”.

When pointed that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had denied reports of a rise in farmers’ suicide in the state, he said, “We challenge the government. She is not telling the truth.”

Ms. Banerjee had earlier denied the reports and accused the CPI (M) of spreading canards against her government.

The CPI(M) leader also said that arrangements should be made to purchase paddy directly from farmers in cash, as was done during the previous Left Front rule, and crop insurance be introduced, among other measures to help them.

Alleging that the CPI(M) leaders and workers had become victims of terror across the State, he said, “sixty three CPI(M) members have been killed and there have been various instances of party leaders and workers being implicated in false cases. This is being done to suppress our party.”

To a question, the CPI(M) leader reiterated that the policy of industrialisation of the State adopted by the previous Left Front government was correct, but admitted that in some cases, like Singur, land acquisition was made in haste without proper discussion with farmers.