The toll of farmer suicides in Vidarbha region this year touched over 100 with the deaths of nine more farmers in the last 72 hours.
According to reports reaching Nagpur on Saturday evening, three suicides were reported in Yavatmal district, two each in Washim and Buldhana and one each from Nagpur and Amravati. Most of them reportedly took the drastic step because of debts and non-availability of remunerative price for raw cotton this year.
Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, which has been documenting farmers' deaths since 2001 said meagre remunerative cotton prices were to blame. "Cotton-growers who used to get Rs 2,700 per quintal from the state-sponsored Cotton Co-operative Marketing Federation two years ago, now get Rs 1,700 per quintal while the cost of agriculture inputs and cultivation have doubled," Tiwari said.
According to him, 858 farmers have ended their lives since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a special package of Rs 3,750-crore for six districts in Vidarbha in July 2006.