On a day the city was getting ready to celebrate, a father whose business floundered because of the pandemic and failed to repay an education loan he had taken for his daughter, hanged himself inside a room that used to be his workplace.
The incident happened in a Golf Green neighbourhood on Panchami morning.
Police said Debi Prasad Aich, 51, who used to run a grille factory on the ground floor of his two-storey house, was found hanging from a rod in the ceiling of a room on the ground floor.
His daughter was the first to spot him and alert their neighbours.
Aich was taken to Baghajatin State General Hospital, where he was declared dead. The police said there was no apparent sign of foul play.
The police said they did not find any suicide note on him. His family and friends said he was extremely depressed because of the financial crisis the family has been facing since the nationwide lockdown was imposed in March 2020 to fight Covid-19.
“His business had incurred huge losses during the lockdown and he had failed to recover over the past few months,” said an officer of Golf Green police station.
“He had taken an education loan for his college-going daughter, which he was finding very difficult to repay,” the officer added.
Like Aich, there are thousands whose work and business have been ruined by the relentless onslaught of the pandemic and the resultant economic slowdown since March 2020.
Many Calcuttans who lost their jobs or ran into debts failed to find an alternative source of income and chose to end their lives.
A few weeks ago, Tapan Dey, who owned a lathe workshop, was found dead inside the manufacturing unit in Haridevpur with his throat slit.
The police later found that he had slit his throat, unable to sustain the financial losses he had incurred during the lockdown period.
Dey, who had been a fitter in a tool-manufacturing company, had left his job in 2019 to start his own business.
He, however, could not sustain the losses his business started suffering soon after Covid hit India.
Aich’s death is a grim reminder of how useless claims of a spectacular economic recovery are in the face of the harsh reality on the ground.