Another potato farmer, suffering from financial crisis, allegedly committed suicide, in West Bengal’s Burdwan district, taking the toll to three in fortnight.
Ratan Shanr(35) had consumed pesticide at his home at Sassanga village in Khandagosh area of the district on March 18 and died at Burdwan Medical College Hospital this morning, Police said.
Victim’s brother Bansi said the farmer had mortgaged his wife’s ornaments to arrange for a private loan of Rs 60,000. But as the prices of potato remained very low, he was depressed and took the step.
Khandagosh block development officer Santanu Das said he had received the news and was looking into the situation.
In the past fortnight, two other potato farmers had committed suicide at Bhatar and Mangolkote in the district as prices of the tuber remained very low.
Potato production in the state was in excess of 110 lakh tonnes, up by around 15 per cent over last year due to higher acreage and conducive climate, the former president of West Bengal Cold Storage Association Ramapda Paul said.
State Agriculture Minister Purnendu Bose had told PTI recently that the government is keeping an eye on the situation arising out of surplus potato output in the state which has left farmers worried.
The price of potato would not have crashed to Rs 150 a bag against the production cost of Rs 450, had demand from other states remained buoyant, he said.
The government has created a Rs 10 crore corpus for transport subsidy for potato farmers for exporting tuber by both ships and railway rakes besides, procuring it from farmers at Rs 5 a kg for direct retailing in 20-odd state-owned Sufal stores in and around the city at Rs 7 per kg.
The government will also supply potato free for mid-day meals in schools.