Two more farmers of Vidarbha region killed themselves in the last 24 hours because of crop failure and crippling debts.
According to reports reaching in Nagpur on Wednesday evening, Vishnu Bapurao Ghoge, a small farmer of Kalitembhi village in Yavatmal, committed suicide by swallowing poison on Tuesday evening. The seedling of cotton of his farm was dying because of paucity of rains. Yavatmal is among the 11 districts in the region that has received deficit rainfall and the Kalitembhi village has not seen a drop of rain since August 1.
Similarly, Bhaurao Chikate of Korana village in neighbouring Wardha district ended his life by swallowing pesticide at his farm on Wednesday morning because of crop failure. Chikate, who has seven-acre land, sowed soyabean and cotton in his farm. However, both the crop dried up because of paucity of rains.
"The farmers of the region are facing an unprecedented crisis this year following mounting debts, not getting loans from the bank in time and crop failure," said Mohan Rathod, a farmers’ leader and a native of Ghatanji in Yavatmal district.
“There is no rain. This month was totally rainless and it badly affected the farmers in the region,” Rathod added. The two major crops, apart from cotton and soyabean, grown by farmers are pulses and jawar.
"The rainfall from mid-June to till middle of August always considers very crucial for the kharif season. However, the rainfall during the period this year was just 393.5 mm as against the last year’s 786.5 mm, a deficit of over 50 per cent. The rainfall gap for over 20 days this monsoon also rattled the district authorities who fear that if the situation continues for another a week, it would ruin the crops in the region. The sowings of crops like paddy, soybean and cotton are very slow in progress due to lack of sufficient rainfall,” said Chandrapur District Collector Pradip Kalbhor.
He said the government has already announced drought like situation in the district. If the situation doesn’t improve by August 31, the district collector said he would send a proposal to both central and state governments to declare the district as drought prone.
With the deaths of two more farmers in the region, the toll has risen to 27 this month while the figure was 42 last month. As many as 314 farmers have ended their lives in the region since January this year while the figure was 784 last year. Now an average two farmers commit suicide in the region every day.
If the hide and seek of monsoon continues in the region, the situation may turn worst this time and more bad news may come from the killing fields of Vidarbha.
Meanwhile, the Amravati District Central Co-operative Bank has decided to disburse interest-free crop loan up to Rs. 25,000 to farmers of the region.
Announcing the decision on Wednesday, Amravati District Central Co-operative Bank president Kanchanmala Gawande said that the bank will provide 1 per cent concession on the interest on loan to those farmers who will borrow loan up to Rs. 25,000 and repay it regularly till March 31, 2010. This, in other words, translates into an interest free loan, as banks extend crop loans at 6 per cent interest rate and the state government has given a 4 per cent relief on interest under the Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Shetkari Swabhimani Scheme and Central government has extended 1 per cent relief on interest.
Now, with the district central co-operative bank announcing a 1 per cent concession on loan up to R 25,000, the farmers would get it without interest, provided they regularly repay the loan.
Gawande said that the district central co-operative bank would bear the Rs. 75-80 lakh loan concession and encourage the farmers to focus on agriculture and help them to repay loans. Since the state and central governments have extended financial relief to bailout crisis-ridden farmers, the bank too volunteered to take part in this endeavour, Gawande said.
Farmers suicide in the region
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