ANDHRA PRADESH

Ryot's suicide: protest against Transco

CUDDAPAH, AUG. 14. Farmers of Sunkesula village in Khajipet mandal picketed the electrical sub-station until late on Friday night by placing the body of Chinna Yerikala Reddy (48), a farmer who committed suicide by consuming a pesticide allegedly due to pressure by Transco officials to repay arrears.

Farmers gave up their protest around 10 p.m. after the Transco Divisional Engineer, Easwara Reddy, assured suspension of an Assistant Engineer, Mastan Vali and Line Inspector, Sivaiah, and granted ex-gratia of Rs. 50,000 to the deceased ryot's family.

Chief Minister apprised

Incidentally Yerikala Reddy is a close relative of the Congress MLA of Mydukur, D.L. Ravindra Reddy, and the former told the protesters that he had apprised the Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, of the matter.

The Transco officials conducted raids in Sunkesula and Thudumuladinne villages two days ago and threatened to file cases against 40 persons who had arrears. Yerikala Reddy, whose arrears amounted to Rs.18,000, reportedly pleaded with the Assistant Engineer that he would repay it in three instalments. As he turned down the plea, the farmer ended his life, the protesters alleged.

The farmers placed Yerikala Reddy's body in front of the sub-station, disconnected power supply and alleging that the Assistant Engineer and Line Inspector were responsible for the farmer's death. Charging the Transco officials with breaking open the locks of houses when inmates were away and searched the houses, the farmers stated that they had repaid arrears of Rs. 3 lakhs earlier, after a raid by Transco Vigilance officials.

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