Farmers’ suicides in the killing field of Vidarbha are continuing unabated with four more suicides reported in the region in last 24 hours. With these deaths, the toll has risen to 648 this year, while the figure was 972 last year.
According to reports reaching here this evening, among the latest victims, three were from Yavatmal while one was from Amravati district in west Vidarbha region. They were identified as: Arun Bhoyar of Andhabori, Narendra Ghunghrud, Warya, Babarao Debare, Yawali (all are from Yavatmal) and Uttamrao Dapurkar of Kati in Amravati district.
In Maharashtra, the western Vidarbha and Marathwada region monsoon has once again failed. The effect of on-going climate change has shown its maximum impact as some of the badly affected blocks have received less than 10 cm of rain which is less than 10% of the average rain fall in the last century.
Despite the farmers of the region sowing seeds three times in more than two million hectares, crops have been badly damaged in the region.
Besides, the financial institutions in the region are not ready to extend to the distressed farmers fresh loans for re-sowing, leading to such tragic incidents.
“We have been asking the state and central governments to give delayed rain compensation relief, fresh debt waiver in region where in the year 2012 and 2013 too drought was declared so that fresh bank crop loans could be availed. However, nothing is being done in this direction so far,” alleged Kishore Tiwari, president of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, a farmers’ pressure group.
Tiwari has also demanded food security to all distressed farmers in the region immediately so that such incidents can be prevented. “If the government fails to provide fresh crop loans and food security, more distressed farmers would opt for such drastic steps,” he warned.
Since June, in the wake of rains eluding the Vidarbha and Marathwada region where farmers had sown cotton and soyabean twice, many were now resorting to a third sowing, and in the process, incurring heavy debt while going in for fresh sowing.
Yavatmal district collector, Ashwin Mudgal, who was just transferred from the district, acknowledged the present situation. He said a few farmers did commit suicide because of the present crisis this kharif season. Good rainfall over the last few days would certainly change the picture, he hoped.
According to Mudgal, nationalized banks are not extending cooperation to provide crop loans to farmers. “We have planned to give Rs 1,500-crore crop loan to farmers in the district this kharif season. However, we could fulfill only 48 % of our target due to the non-cooperation of the banking sector in the area,” he rued. As a result, the district authorities have lodged complaints against these banks with the Bank-Level Committee and RBI, informed Mudgal.
Vidarbha region of Maharashtra has gained notoriety due to its farm suicides. In the past, incidence of farmers ending their lives in the region had hit epidemic proportions. An average three farmers commit suicide in the region because of agrarian crisis every day.