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Farmers suicide: Relief issue should be raised in Parliament, says Vijayan

twitter-logoPTI | June 1, 2019 | Updated 17:13 IST

Thiruvananthapuram, Jun 1 (PTI) Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has told Rahul Gandhi that the issue of providing relief to the families of farmers, who committed suicide over failure to repay bank loans, needs to be taken up in Parliament, after the Congress chief wrote to him raising the plight of a Wayanad farmer. The Union government needs to take a stand regarding the agricultural loans taken by farmers from commercial banks, Vijayan said on Friday in a reply to the letter by Gandhi, who was recently elected to the Lok Sabha from Wayanad seat. A copy of the letter was released to the media. Vijayan said he had asked the district collector to conduct a detailed inquiry into the suicide of the Wayanad farmer and submit a report to the government for taking further action, including providing financial assistance. Gandhi had asked the state government to provide assistance to the family of V D Dineshan who committed suicide allegedly due to mounting debt. He said since the farmers across the country were facing "severe distress" due to their mounting debts and difficulty in repaying the loans availed by them, the matter needs to be raised in Parliament. "This issue needs to be raised in the Parliament and I hope that you will join us in taking up the issue of relief for the debt affected families," he said. The chief minister said that since outstanding loans from commercial banks come under the SARFAESI Act, it is for the Centre to take a considered stand regarding the farmers' debts. Pointing out that the state was making continued efforts to help the farmers, he said there was a moratorium on repayment of farmers' loans till December this year. Dinesh Kumar, 53, had ended his life after consuming a poisonous substance on May 25. His relatives had said financial burden forced him to take the extreme step. Gandhi, in his letter dated May 28, said he was "deeply saddened" by the farmer's suicide and requested the state government to conduct an inquiry and extend financial support to the family. "Kumar's case isn't an isolated one. There have been a spate of farmer suicides in Wayanad, due to an inability to repay loans," Gandhi had said in his letter. The Congress chief said it was important to consider "long-term measures" to free farmers from the "vicious debt trap" given the devastating impact of the last year's floods. PTI UD ROH AAR

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