The unfortunate trend of agrarian crisis driving distressed farmers to commit suicide continues in Vidarbha. As many as five more farmers have ended their lives in the last 48 hours on the eve of Diwali in the region.
According to reports reaching here on Saturday evening, among the victims three were from the neighbouring Wardha and two were from Yavatmal — one of the worst-hit districts in the region.
The deceased were identified as: Ashok Sathe of Zullar village, Bharat Ade of Parsoda (both from Yavatmal district), Ramesh Wadatkar, Yashambha village, Devidas Thakare, Sorta and Vithalrao Ladhi of Arambha (all from Wardha district).
Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti that has been documenting the farmers’ suicide in the region since 2001 claimed that with the death of these five farmers, the toll has risen to 683 in the region since January this year.
Tiwari urged the government to provide necessary help to the distressed farmers so that such tragic incidents could be prevented. Farmers in the region were forced to take the extreme step as they have no money even for the purchasing sweet and new clothes for their children on Diwali, he claimed.
Vilas Raut of Wadaki village, who knew one of the victims, Ashok Sathe of Zullar village, informed that Ashok was shattered following the crop failure due to heavy rains. He had borrowed around Rs. 50,000 from the local cooperative bank.
“When he realized that he would not be able to repay the loans and generate fresh funds for the next season, he ended his life by consuming poison on Friday evening. Moreover, he was also depressed as he could not borrow money for purchasing clothes for his children and family this Diwali,” Raut pointed out.
Vidarbha, where more than one million acres of land has been eroded and over Rs. 20,000-crore worth crop lost, the announced relief by centre and state was a meagre Rs. 2,800-crore.
Apart from bailout the crisis-ridden farmers, the amount is too less to repair damaged roads and bridges on a large scale following heavy rains in the region, Tiwari said.
Ashwin Mudgal, the collector of Yavatmal district admitted that he has received the news of farmers’ suicide in his district. “I have directed my tahsildar to inquire about it and submit a report immediately,” he said.
The collector, Mudgal also admitted that over 60 farmers from Yavatmal district alone, committed suicide because of agrarian crisis since June this year.