The West Bengal government today denied reports of suicide by potato farmers saying such incidents of suicide as reported in two cases were not true and the reasons were also different from what the reports said.
“Reports of suicide by potato farmers as reported in a section of media is not true. Reasons of those deaths are entirely different from what had been reported,” state Agriculture Minister Purnendu Bose said here.
A tribal farmer had committed suicide in the state’s Burdwan district as he allegedly failed to get a good price for his potato crop.
Another farmer from Khanakool in Hooghly district, Swapan Kundu, had also committed suicide reportedly in anticipation that he could not repay loans due poor potato price this year.
The 50-year-old Guddu Murmu, a share cropper had consumed pesticide at his home at Chhatimdanga village in Bhatar area recently and was rushed to Burdwan Medical College Hospital, where he died.
His son claimed he was depressed as the current low price of potato did not allow him to raise enough money to repay loans of about Rs 60,000.
“Since the state has recorded a bumper production of 1.20 crore tonnes potato this year against a demand of 74 lakh tonnes, the state government has decided to give Rs 10 crore subsidy to traders for exporting potato and its transportation to other states,” the minister said.
The state government would also purchase 50,000 tonnes of potato at the rate of Rs 5.50 per kg for Mid-Day Meal scheme in the state, he said.
Besides, the state government has decided to purchase a substantial quantity of potato at the rate Rs five per kg and sale them to people through mobile shops at the rate of Rs seven per kg.
The Railway authority have also been asked to arrange extra rakes for transportation of potato to other states, the minister added.