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‘5.5 Crores for bus, CM?’ says farmer in letter before suicide, Naidu reply can’t compromise with security

Another farmer has committed suicide in drought-hit Andhra Pradesh. However, before taking his life, the tobacco farmer wrote a scathing letter to Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, questioning his priorities.

In his letter, the farmer questioned Naidu’s decision to spend Rs 5.5 crore on a luxury bus instead of protecting farmers. The farmer warned the CM that farmers were under extreme pressure and were being forced to end their lives.

The tobacco farmer, Venkateshwara Rao, belonged to West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.

He was struggling to pay off loans of Rs 22 lakh and took his life on Monday. He had written to Naidu a week before, and he allegedly committed suicide after he didn’t get a response from the chief minister.

The police say Rao may have been depressed also because of huge hospital bills after an accident last year and his separation from his wife.
He left no suicide note but his last letter, to the Chief Minister, was a neon sign.

“The Chief Minister, for his own safety, has spent Rs. 5.5 crore on modifying a (state transport) bus. If his life is so valuable, a tobacco farmer’s suicide brings his family on the road,” Rao wrote.

“Isn’t it the Chief Minister’s responsibility to ensure that even one farmer doesn’t commit suicide?”

The bus that the farmer referred to was commissioned by Mr Naidu last year when he decided to tour the state to monitor the impact of Cyclone Hudhud. The vehicle worked as a makeshift office with a sofa, television and tele-conferencing screen, besides a small bedroom.

Rao said there were 14,000 tobacco farmers like him who were all in debt and “had started committing suicide.”

Reacting to the incident, the Chief Minister said that though his government had done a lot for the farmers, he could not compromise on his security.

Naidu said, “I have done a lot for famers. They have been given money, it is not that government has not done anything for them, but my security is important. This suicide issue is different from safety and security.”

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