Kerala Flood Victim Kills Self Over Delay in Getting Relief
Forty-two-year-old Sanal is survived by his wife, a 14-year old daughter and a 16-year old son.
Sanal MC, a daily wage labourer from Meppady in Wayanad district of Kerala, killed himself on Monday evening of 2 March, inside a shed where he and his family used to live.
Sanal did not receive any compensation from the state government, though his house was destroyed in the 2019 floods, and killed himself as he was heartbroken, his family alleged. The family has further alleged that despite getting registered at a relief camp, Sanal did not get even Rs 10,000 that was given to families as immediate relief.
Sanal is one among those who lost their homes in the 2019 floods and landslides. Kavalappara and Puthumala in Wayanad had been the worst affected regions in the state in the 2019 floods. Meppady, where Sanal lives, comes under Puthumala. According to Panchayat records, 70% of Sanal’s house was destroyed on 8 August, 2019.
Forty-two-year-old Sanal is survived by his wife, a 14-year old daughter and a 16-year old son. The family built a small shed and shifted into it after their house which stood on a 11 cent plot was destroyed in the floods.
The family alleged that despite visiting many government offices, Sanal received no relief.
Congress Meppady constituency committee president, B Suresh Babu, told TNM that Sanal's family hadn't received the immediate flood relief of Rs 10,000 or any other kind of relief from the panchayat.
‘The family did not get any assistance from the Meppady Panchayat which is ruled by the LDF. Even the shed that the family lives in now was built by neighbours. Sixty per cent of the people of the panchayat haven't received any assistance from the government. The relief works are mostly done by voluntary organisations,’ he said.
KK Sahad, Meppady Panchayat President told TNM that the Revenue Department had sanctioned Rs 4 lakh for Sanal as his house had incurred 75% damage.
Sanal’s name featured in the Kerala government’s ‘Life Mission' housing project.
During the survey by the Revenue Department in 2017 and 2018, it was found that Sanal was eligible under the housing scheme as his house had some cracks. He was eligible under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) Mission, the central government’s housing project, too.
‘In 2019, a portion of the wall crumbled in the floods. As per the flood relief compensation, those whose houses suffered more than 75% damage are eligible for a compensation amount of Rs 4 lakh. Hence, Sanal is eligible for the amount,’ Sahad said.
So why was there a delay in disbursing funds? ‘The fund was passed but the money did not reach the account. There might be some legal issues, but the money would have reached his account soon,’ Sahad claimed.
When asked about the interim compensation as part of the flood relief, the panchayat president said that only those who were in the camps during the floods and landslides were given an amount of Rs 10,000.
‘Sanal was living with his relatives at the time,’ he added. The panchayat president also added that he did not think Sanal killed himself over this, despite his family saying he was heartbroken over it.
Other panchayat members claimed that Sanal lived in a poramboke land and his land ownership papers were not in place.
Sanal's daughter was about to join a new course in Kozhikode on Tuesday, 3 March with the support from some of their relatives.
‘We have just completed the inquest. His neighbours told us that he hadn't received any flood relief. We will examine if he had applied for the relief and if he had got it or not,’ Deputy Superintendent of Police Kalpetta Jacob TP told TNM.
No suicide note has been found, the DySp said.
If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers:
Maithri helpline - 0484-2540530
Chaithram helpline: 0484-2361161
Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.
State health department suicide helpline number - 104
Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in TN)
Sahai: 24-hour helpline numbers: 080- 65000111, 080-65000222
Telangana government suicide prevention toll free no - 104
Roshni- 040-66202000, 6620200SEVA- 09441778290, 040 - 27504682 (between 9 AM and 7 PM)
Life Suicide Prevention Helpline No.78930-78930
Roshni Helpline 1: 9166202000 Helpline 2: 9127848584
(This article has been published in arrangement with The News Minute)
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