Kolkata, March 21 A potato cultivator in West Bengal’s Burdwan district died on Saturday after consuming pesticide. His family said he took the extreme step on failing to recover the cost of production.
So far, four potato cultivators have committed suicide in the state this month, after a bumper production of the crop led to a steep price fall.
Atul Let, a share cropper from Jamalpur in the district, died at the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital on Saturday after consuming pesticide a day earlier, said a police officer.
The victim’s family said he had taken a loan of around Rs.1 lakh for cultivating potatoes. Fearing that he will not able to repay it, he committed suicide.
While two potato cultivators had committed suicide earlier in the month in Bhatar and Mongalkote in Burdwan, another hanged himself in Hooghly district’s Khanakul.
The Mamata Banerjee government said the farmers took their own lives due to personal reasons.
State Agriculture Minister Purnendu Bose had recently claimed that the farmers committed suicide due to “personal reasons” but admitted that owing to a bumper production, the prices of potato fell steeply leading to distress among the farmers.
In the wake of the suicides, a public interest litigation has been filed before the Calcutta High Court in which the state government has been directed to file a report on the steps taken by it to counter the problem.