First farmer suicide in drought-hit Bengal | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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First farmer suicide in drought-hit Bengal

Rural indebtedness has claimed its first reported victim in West Bengal this year after having wreaked havoc in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

kolkata Updated: Aug 21, 2010 23:25 IST
HT Correspondent

Rural indebtedness has claimed its first reported victim in West Bengal this year after having wreaked havoc in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

Yonus Seikh, a 45-year-old farmer, died on Saturday by consuming pesticides in Burdwan, in the midst of drought-like conditions prevailing in 11 districts of the state.

He had taken loans of R30,000 from local moneylenders and grocery shops. His premonition was he would not be able to repay them.

Neighbours took Seikh to a local health centre after his suicidal act near a village pond on Friday evening. He was then shifted to the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital, where he died on Saturday.

His relative Jiaur Rahaman told HT that Yonus cultivated a seasonal variety of paddy on seven bighas (one bigha = 14,400 sq feet in West Bengal).

Due to shortfall in rain, his land became parched and the crops were getting damaged.

Burdwan Sub-Divisional Officer A. Niyogi said that evidence so far indicated that he committed suicide due to a “family dispute”. The block development officer had been asked to investigate, he added.

In its observation on farmer suicides, the Bombay High Court had said in 2004: “The suicides (in Maharashtra) are as much due to the failure of social and economic development to reach the poor as it is due to natural calamities.”