“Things are grim this year”
In yet another case of distress suicide within a span of four days, a Dalit marginal farmer hanged himself from a tree here at Magizhi village in Thirupoondi on Thursday.
Fifty-eight-year old Selvaraj of Karunkani Panchayat of Keezhayur had returned distraught from his fields after his attempts to irrigate his fields with the below minimal water in the channel failed.
Selvaraj had spent around Rs.50,000 for cultivating his marginal holding of two acres that included an acre of leased land. After his directly sown fields were lost in the October rains, Selvaraj had raised nurseries the second time. Early in the day, he had tried to borrow from money lenders.
Speaking to The Hindu, Subhash Chandra Bose, son of Selvaraj, said his father had wanted money to hire a diesel engine to pump out the already bare minimal water in the branch channel to his field. However, his borrowers refused money.
According to Ravichandran, panchayat president of Karunkani, the panchayat had been demanding a check dam on Vellayar to serve as a reservoir for farm works.
“The excess inundation in October could have been stored for these lean days,” he says.
Speaking to The Hindu at Magizhi, A.V. Subramanyam, District Secretary, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam, said that the last time such distress suicides were reported was in 2002, when 19 people died due to farm distress. Things are grim this year, he said.
According to V.P. Nagai Maali, CPI (M) MLA for Keezhvelur, who visited the family, marginal farmers have suffered the most by pinning hopes on agriculture and making borrowings to cultivate their marginal holdings. The second death, followed by the failure of talks in Bangalore has sapped the confidence of farmers here.