The state government is visibly perturbed over the sudden spurt in farmers’ suicides in Vidarbha after 26 farmers killed themselves this month with two more suicides reported in the last 24 hours.
According to reports reaching here on Tuesday, Prabhakar Kuche (68) of Kher-Talegaon village in Amravati and Narayan Bharti (52), Kolhi in Buldhana district, both cotton growers, were depressed due to crop failure following untimely rains. They could not repay the loans borrowed from cooperative banks and moneylenders. Both swallowed pesticides to end their lives, reports said.
Sanjay Deshmukh, the collector of Yavatmal district that witnessed 308 farmers’ suicide last year and eight more so far this year, admitted that the situation was volatile as it was the third consecutive year when crop failed because of natural calamities.
However, he felt that the agrarian crisis was not the lone reason for the drastic step. "There are other reasons like healthcare and marriage of eligible daughters," he said. The unabated trend of farmers committing suicide due to crop failure and indebtedness needs an in-depth study, he pointed out.
He also claimed that incidents of suicides decreased in comparison to previous years. In Yavatmal district, one of the worst hit districts of the region, where 325 farmers ended their lives because of the agrarian crisis in 2009, the figure was 308 last year, he added.
Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti reiterated that there was an urgent need for ensuring food security for the distressed farmers. "VJAS has been advocating such schemes for the poor farmers to stop suicides for the last several years. But the government seems to be very casual in this regard," he rued.
Mohan Jadhav, another leader of a pressure group of farmers of the region, urged the government to assure the distressed farmers by providing guarantees that even defaulters would get fresh loans in the coming rabi and kharif seasons. Such measures can prevent farmer suicides in coming days, he pointed out.