Kottayam: Counselling for loan defaulters

At least 8 farmers ended lives this year.

KOTTAYAM: The agriculture department has decided to give counselling to the loan defaulters in Idukki district in the wake of the series of suicides by farmers. At least eight farmers have committed suicide this year allegedly due to the eviction procedures initiated by the banks against the loan defaulters.

Though the agriculture department has asked the banks to furnish the det-ails of such defaulters, many banks have not complied with the request.

Principal agricultural officer of Idukki, Ancy John, told Deccan Chro-nicle, “we have asked our officials to meet such people in distress. Though we requested the banks in the district to provide us the details of the defaulters, only 20 bank branches have obliged,” she said.

The department wants to take redemptive steps and counsel the farmers in the wake of the suicides. “There is a psycho-social issue in the district and in most cases the causative factor is the use of loans for purposes other than agriculture,” the officer said.

The farmers have been affected by various factors, including the Kasturirangan report, their inability to sell their lands, the damage to crops and properties due to the floods and availing of loans to marry off their children or for educational purposes.

The bankers also say that the farmers are passing through a severe crisis. "If the government does not take steps immediately to solve the crisis, the suicides may recur. The livelihood of a large number of farmers has been destroyed. Now they take loans from private money lenders for their sustenance. This will only worsen the situation,” Mr P.R. Rajesh, general manager of the Idukki district cooperative bank, told DC.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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