21.09.2016

Some farmers also sold family land or property (valued from Rs 50,000 to 400,000), while others were forced to stop sending their children to school.

Selvaraj Palanisamy is one among them. He recalls: “It’s been over three years since I was bitten by a cobra. I am still paying my loans, after spending almost Rs 1,000,000 on treatment in a private hospital. I have three children, and I am unable to pay their school fees. I cannot practice agriculture either.” If a farmer dies from snakebite, there is compensation of Rs 20,000-25,000 by the state for his family. For, injury, there is no compensation.

Robin Bernard, a snakebite survivor, founded the National Snakebite Initiative in 2011 at Erode in Tamil Nadu, with an aim to protect the lives of both the farmers and the snakes. “Snakebite is a neglected issue, a poor man’s disease, and not many people are willing to work on it.