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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Job loss, debts after lockdown: 3 die by suicide in Kerala

Thundathil Madhu, 55, tried farming after he lost his mahaut's job with the tourism department's elephant safari at Thekkadi.

By: Express News Service | Thiruvananthapuram |
November 17, 2021 3:21:59 am
In Malappuram district, restaurant owner K Bharathan, 49, hanged himself as the long lockdown left him in a debt trap.

THREE PERSONS, including a farmer, ended their lives in three separate incidents in Kerala on Monday, allegedly due to pandemic-induced crisis.

Thundathil Madhu, 55, a native of Kanchiyar village in Idukki, tried farming after he lost his mahaut’s job with the tourism department’s elephant safari scheme at Thekkadi. Madhu returned to his village, where he took a farm land on lease. His neighbour N Shajimon said, “The leased land had pepper and cardamom. But the prices of the crops dropped, and as many of the farm lands do not have title deeds, they are not entitled for agri loans from banks either. Madhu was then forced to take money from local lenders, who recently started pressuring him to repay the loans. The loss of crop coupled with the growing loan liability pushed him into despair.”

Police said they have recovered a suicide note indicating the liability on Madhu but there was no mention of the amount.

Another suicide victim, E Kannan, 49, a native of Thengara village in Palakkad, turned to retail lottery selling after his restaurant had to be shut. “His restaurant had to be closed in the wake of the lockdown. Then, he started selling lottery tickets at a local market. The poor footfall at the market left him in crisis,” said Prasobh, a friend of the deceased.

In Malappuram district, restaurant owner K Bharathan, 49, hanged himself as the long lockdown left him in a debt trap. Bharathan was running a restaurant at Edappal which had to be closed during the lockdown. He was living at a rented premises and as the crisis prolonged, he could not repay the loan.

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