Another season of nature’s vagaries, another season of failed crops and the continued spate of distressed farmers ending life — that’s what Vidarbha’s killing fields have come to be known as. Five more farmers committed suicide in the last 48 hours in the region.
According to reports reaching here on Tuesday evening, among the victims, three were from Yavatmal, one of the worst-suicide prone districts in the region, while one each was from Amravati and Buldhana. They have been identified as Ravindra Harne (24) of Bhamb village, Ukanda Punjaji Dighade (53), Wadad, Deepak Pohurkar (32), Vidur (all Yavatmal district), Pundalik Dhote (52), Didora (Buldhana) and Dayaram Samadhan Lawhale (44) of Hingni village in Amravati district.
Mohan Jadhav, a leader of farmers’ organization, claimed that all these five farmers ended lives as their entire crop, particularly raw cotton and soyabean failed because of delayed rains initially and later washing away of the re-sowing due to heavy downpour in the region.
Jadhav, who has been collecting the details of farmers’ suicides, said that the victims could not cope up with the heavy debt burden following loans borrowed from the local cooperative banks initially and later from the private money lenders for re-sowing. "They were depressed and worried as costly seeds were lost and killed themselves out of frustration," he said.
Yavatmal district collector Ashwin Mudgal admitted that he received the information of three farmers deaths in the district. "I have sent my tahsildar to the concerned villages and asked him to submit the report within two days," he added.
Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, a farmers’ pressure group, said that the situation in rural Vidarbha is very volatile because of crop failure in the wake of delayed rains and subsequent heavy rains that washed away the crops.
Farmers realized that they would not be able to repay crop loans borrowed from financial institutions because of crop failure and would be treated as defaulters by the banks which would prevent them for fresh loans next season. "Now it is time for the government to instill confidence among the farmers that it stands by them in times of crisis," he urged and demanded a special package for the farmers of Vidarbha.
The National Human Rights Commission has already served a notice to the state government for the suicide by seven farmers in three days in the region last week because of agrarian crisis. The NHRC served notice on a petition filed by Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti.
The NHRC asked the state chief secretary to file a report in six weeks after taking note of the media reports claiming that seven farmers committed suicide in three days last week in the region. The NHRC said that if the report was true, it raised a "serious issue" of rights violation of farmers.
With the deaths of these five farmers, the toll has risen to 52 this month alone while the figure was 48 last month. As many as 546 farmers have killed themselves in the region because of agrarian crisis since January this year while the figure was 918 last year.
FARMER SUICIDES IN VIDARBHA REGION --
2012 (September 24): 558