Unpaid Tractor Loan Prompted Bank Warning – Then, A Heart Attack

A 40-year-old farmer in Tamil Nadu's Thanjavur
Tamil Nadu farmer M Subramani died of a heart attack after receiving a bank warning for an unpaid loan.

CHENNAI: It was a run of the mill day at the tiny farm in Tamil Nadu where M Subramani, struggled year after year to grow mulberry. Then, a document arrived.  24 hours later, the 65-year-old was dead after a heart attack.

Mr Subramani’s wife says the farmer, who retired from the army nearly 15 years ago, died of shock on Saturday. The innocuous-looking envelope her husband had received contained a warning from the bank to which he owes 15 lakhs.

The letter warned that because the farmer had defaulted on the loan he took nine years ago, the bank was prepping to auction Mr Subramani’s property- his three-acre plot and a small house on the farm – and to name and shame him by publishing his name in local newspapers in the Vellore district.


M Subramani's wife says that the farmer died out of shock

M Subramani’s wife says that the farmer died of shock.

“He collapsed soon after reading the notice. We rushed him to a hospital where he died the next day. The last thing he said was – ‘my entire life has become useless’,” said his son. It took Mr Subramani six years to prepare the arid land suitable for mulberry cultivation.

“We couldn’t save him. He got scared that they would auction his property and arrest him. They also said his name would be advertised in paper and humiliated,” said S Jamuna, the farmer’s wife.

Other farmers in the area say that recently, the bank had sent recovery agents to threaten Mr Subramani.  He borrowed five lakhs in 2007 to buy a tractor. Over time, his debt swelled to 15 lakhs.  With drought ravaging his crop year after year, the farmer had nothing to offer.

Just last week, a farmer in Thanjavur in the state killed himself after his tractor was seized because he was not repaying his bank loan. Earlier this month, another farmer was filmed as the police beat him up as they moved to take away his tractor. Actor Karunakaran repaid the farmer’s due to bail him out.

Tamil Nadu votes in May for its next government. The DMDK, headed by former actor Vijayakanth, has vowed to fly 5,000 farmers abroad every year to help them learn modern agricultural techniques; other parties are yet to release their manifestoes.


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  2. Its not easy to implement the government schemes, given lot of Administration hurdles and corruption. Anyway its not in support of the actions taken by local administrators. We need good District administrators to make sure Government benefits reach the needy.

    Regarding the Farmer loans its true that it is business for the banks where as Farmer putting his entire life at RISK. The change should be banks should have at least Interest free or lower Interest loans in this sector and have a mechanism not to harass the poor farmers.

  3. this is right that he should pay loan, but if due to any crises or some reason he is not able to pay loan, take your tractor and resell it, and for the rest of the amount they cant force him or give him shocks, we all do business and we gain in some projects and we have to bear loss, if you are a supplier and you manufacture something on my orders, and if tomorrow I am not paying you and I am in abroad, what can you do….there are so many cases where we are not able to recover the money and what we do…we do nothing and try to earn money in new venture…he is bankrupt or he is not oblige to sell him house to repay the loan, no way you can humiliate anyone to such extent.

  4. Yes, you are absolutely correct.But, do you have any suggestion to help such people. It seems that you are/or an employee from a bank.

  5. I am surprised at the comments viewers have expressed. The loans to farmers or to students do not come out of thin air- they are created out of funds borrowed from all of us (in the form of FDs/savings/ current accounts etc.). If all your viewers expressing shock and anger are told by Banks that their FDs/ deposits were loaned to Mr Subramani ; alternatively if they are told that certain farmers or industrialists are unable to repay and they may please come back for their deposits after these defaulters have repaid- will their reactions be different ? The problem is banks have been lax in recovering from well to do industrialists who have perfected the art of siphoning off money from the system and thus built a life of comfort for themselves while small borrowers who dont know the tricks of the trade and have nowhere to hide, suffer because the pressure to recover on bank branch heads is immense and easy targets are picked first

  6. The Government in power does not want to genuinely help these hapless farmers. Nor are these farmers willing to face bravely such difficult situations and find solutions. Banks are great only in their AC cosy cabins. They don’t really help these type of borrowers at the grass root level trying to identify the problems at the earliest stage and finding solutions for the same. Now with elections around the corner, each party will outsmart another party in throwing promises and these promises will remain unfulfilled for ever……. Its time farmers use their common sense and come out of their problems….. No character worth their salt will hep them and they only need to fend for themselves ……

  7. My heart goes out to the bereaved family!! Not sure about the recovery agents or naming & shaming!! There are legal options!! But what about the banks – should they close their eyes on all defaulters? Please don’t cite Vijay Mallaya – Two wrongs does not make one right!! The banks have to collect – big or small.

  8. Please name the bank and let us know how much money they are yet to recover from business tycoons…Heights of arrogance from banks…

  9. Who is he a farmer or a soldier or a human… and how our system works a man took 5 lac loan has to pay 15 lac….

    • You may be surprised to know that there is something called “Interest payment”. If not paid, normally the loan amount doubles in 8-10 years depending on the interest rate.

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