As many as 14 farmers have committed suicide in Vidarbha in last 48 hours.
Kishore Tiwari, a representative of peasant organisation, 'Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti', said farmers in western Vidarbha have been severely hit by the recent spell of heavy rain. Crops sown by some farmers were washed away due to the recent torrential rain.
Most of those who killed themselves had already defaulted on bank loans. And when local banks refused to give them fresh loans, they took the drastic step, Tiwari said. The farmers now have no money for fresh sowing. "The accumulated distress of region's farmers is now at its worst," Tiwari added.
The farmers' body representative urged the prime minister to meet some of the demands of farmers such as waiving their loans, restoring advance bonus in the cotton monopoly scheme (a sum of Rs 2,500), enhancing the guarantee price of raw cotton credit and providing food security and free health care. According to Tiwari, the rural Vidarbha economy collapsed due to the introduction of "costly" Bt cotton in the region last year and the subsequent withdrawal of the advance bonus under the monopoly scheme.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to visit Maharashtra by the end of this month. Ironically, around 1,300 farmers in the region have killed themselves since the PM announced a Rs 3,750 crore package for the region.