One more farmer commits suicide in Kuttanad

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Alappuzha, Mar 29 (UNI) Depressed over the loss of his standing paddy crop, a paddy farmer in the Kuttanad area of Kerala reportedly committed suicide this morning, police said.

Pushkaran, 65, who was unable to get either reaping machinery or labourers to harvest the crop in his two-and-a-half acre field, consumed poison, police said.

He is survived by his wife and four daughters.

Pushkaran, a former CPI(M) Secretary of Oorukkari branch in Kuttanad, is the second farmer in the area to have taken this drastic step.

Last week, Gopinathan from Veeyapuram in Kuttanad had committed suicide due to the same reason.

Another farmer, P G Govinda Pillai, 69, had died after suffering a cardiac arrest in Kuttanad. He was also reported to be depressed as he could not harvest his crop, which got damaged due to unprecedented heavy rains.

Meanwhile, a 'hartal' was observed in Kuttanad from 1400 hrs to 1800 hrs today on the call of the BJP mandalam committee. Harvesting operations in Kuttanad have been hit once again by rains during the past few days. Harvesting machines also continue to be scarce.

Farmers, who have been trying to get the machines from Coimbatore, Trichy and Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu complain that the machine operators were reluctant to come to Kuttanad due to fear of protests from certain quarters.

The opposition UDF has alleged that the CPM-backed labourer unions had earlier manhandled some machine operators, which had led to a slowdown in harvesting operations in Kuttanad.

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