Coimbatore: Beating even Chennai, the country’s infamous suicide capital, Kovai has emerged the only major city in Tamil Nadu to show an increasing trend in suicides during the year 2014, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
Shocking still, Coimbatore has recorded more suicides than the metropolitan Kolkata and Kerala’s capital city, Thiruvananthapuram. Two out of every 100 people who die in India are from Coimbatore, the disturbing statistics released recently show.
Almost all the metropolitan cities except Delhi have managed to bring down the number of suicides. Even Chennai, which records the most number of suicide cases in Tamil Nadu, has reduced its suicide rate by 9.6 per cent. But more Coimbatoreans are killing themselves every year in a shocking tale of despair.
During 2014, the number of people who ended their lives in Coimbatore increased to 427, up by 10 suicidal deaths compared to 2013. It is a depressing 3.1 per cent increase in suicidal deaths.
Metropolitan Kolkata too has recorded only 360 suicides last year compared to Coimbatore’s record of 427 suicidal deaths. Neighbouring Kerala's capital city has fared better than Kovai as only 327 people committed suicide there.
Compare it with other Tier -II cities in Tamil Nadu too, Kovai emerges a stark contrast. In Tiruchy, the number of suicides has dipped to 139 in the year 2014 from 169 in 2013. And Madurai has registered a healthy dip of 19 per cent- from 263 suicidal deaths in 2013 to 213 in the year 2014.
How did the industrial city, which once spelt hopes of prosperity, turn into a land of despair? Social activists say that the drastic increase in migrant population has contributed to the increase in suicides in the city.
“As men and women leave their families behind in their native places and come to work in Coimbatore, they tend to slip into depression. They are driven into suicide even under slight provocation due to their poor living conditions, lack of societal support and economic reasons.
Untreated depression, lack of tolerance, declining moral values and absence of proper societal support are some of the major factors behind the increasing number of suicides,” said D. Rajan, former chairman of Child Welfare Committee and Head of the Department of Social Works in PSG College of Arts and Science.
Not surprisingly, family problems emerge as the key cause of suicide while illnesses come next. As many as 125 people have ended their lives due to family problems while health issues had prompted 85 people to kill themselves. And men outnumber women in committing suicides. As many as 284 men chose to embrace death.
Accidents on Kovai roads rise by 22.6 %:
Kovai roads are becoming deadlier as accidents have increased by 22.6 per cent in Coimbatore city during the year 2014. As many as 269 lives were lost and 1,435 persons were left injured on the city roads. Over-speeding and rash driving have been identified as the key causes for road accidents in Coimbatore.
Over-speeding led to 1,132 accidents and rash driving 293 mishaps last year, latest statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NC RB) reveal. About one-third of the accidents occur during night hours and trucks were largely involved in accidents.
While 93 two-wheeler riders died, 44 accident victims were lorry drivers, 40 were bus passengers and four were cyclists, according to the NCRB data. The national highways in the city, especially Avinashi road, claimed most number of lives. About 120 victims died on the national highways and 56 died on the state highways roads within the city.
As most of the arterial roads are turning into death traps, the police claim that regular checks are done to curb over-speeding and rash driving in the city. “It is mostly the college students and youngsters who are involved in over-speeding and rash driving. Hence we regularly visit colleges and conduct awareness sessions. The penalty amount should be increased manifold to bring down traffic violations,” said Raj Khanna, Assistant Commissioner (Traffic-West).