In yet another reminder of the financial distress of farmers of TN, Gnanasekaran, a 56-year-old farmer from Tiruvannamalai, died of heart attack shortly after loan recovery agents representing the State Bank of India allegedly had an altercation with him. The agents had come to seize the farmer's tractor for defaulting on a loan.
TNIE reports that a loan recovery agent allegedly harassed him for not repaying the loan. "An altercation broke out between Gnanasekaran and his son and the agencts sent by the bank. A scuffle broke out and they hit Gnanasekaran on the chest. He fainted and had to be taken to the hospital where he died later," Gnansekaran's son-in-law told TOI. He was taken to the Government Medical College Hospital in Tiruvannamalai where he died at 9pm.
Tiruvannamalai district collector K S Kandasamy told TOI that the farmer was not present during the altercation and that it was only his son who engaged in an argument with the two agents.
Gnanasekaran had reportedly taken a loan of Rs. 4.95 lakh from SBIâ€™s Sathanur branch in 2008. He already had his tractor seized once for non-repayment of loans, but had got it back on paying an amount of Rs. 1 lakh. However, after defaulting on his payment again, the bank agents had returned to seize his tractor.
Political parties have demanded action. PMK youth wing leader and Lok Sabha member Anbumani Ramadoss said in a statement, â€śBanks hiring goons goes against the guidelines of Reserve Bank of India and the verdict of Supreme Court.â€ť
"Some sugar mills in the region owed Gnanasekaran, a sugarcane farmer, 3 lakh. In such a situation, banks sending thugs to seize the tractor is condemnable. Action should be taken against the bank officials and agents," said CPM state secretary G Ramakrishnan, demanding Rs. 25 lakh in compensation for the farmerâ€™s family.
In October, the state woke up to the disturbing reality loan recovery harassment when a couple immolated themselves and their children after their complaints over harassment from loan sharks allegedly fell on deaf ears.