Sagar Island (West Bengal), June 1 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday conceded that there were 'debt-ridden peasants who contemplated committing suicides'.
'There are many farmers who take loans from money lenders at high interest and when they are unable to repay the money, they contemplate suicide. Do not give up life like that, life is most valuable,' said Banerjee, after giving Kisan Credit Cards to farmers here in the South 24-Parganas district, about 150 km from Kolkata.
Banerjee asked the district administration to ensure that the credit cards are distributed to the farmers at the earliest.
'With the cards, the farmers can avail loans up to Rs.50,000 or more at an interest rate of just 4 percent. The farmers can use the cards to take credit on a regular basis,' added Banerjee.
While Banerjee has always denied reports of farmer suicides in the state, the opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has repeatedly claimed that such deaths have occurred and blamed these on the policies of the Trinamool Congress government.
Governor M.K. Narayanan had earlier admitted instances of such suicides and urged both central and state governments to find ways to check them.