Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government announced two major relief measures for farmers in the state on Monday. This decision came after Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi urged the Kerala chief minister to take steps to address the issue of farmer suicides in the state. Rahul Gandhi, in his letter to Pinarayi dated May 28, said he was "deeply saddened" by the farmer's suicide. He requested the state government to conduct an inquiry and extend financial support to the family.

The first relief measure says cooperative banks, urban banks and state cooperative banks coming under the RBI would be asked not to issue property attachment notices under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act. The second is, all loans up to Rs 2 lakh taken by farmers from both cooperative and commercial banks would be written off.

Agriculture minister VS Sunilkumar informed the house that steps to write off agriculture loan dues of up to Rs 2 lakh would be initiated through the Agriculture Debt Relief Commission.

On Monday, the Congress raised the issue in the state Assembly and also staged a walkout protesting the government's unwillingness to allow an adjournment motion. The parties argued in the Assembly over the issue of farmer suicides in the state.

While the agriculture Minister said a total of 15 farmers; 10 in Idukki and five in Wayanad, had committed suicide after the LDF came to power in May 2016, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala argued that 18 farmers ended their lives in the last 18 months.

In the end, the opposition staged a walkout saying that the government had failed to give a deadline for the loan write-off.