The government's claim of a drop in farmers' suicides following the implementation of its two packages (Over Rs 5,050-crore) to bail out crisis-ridden farmers has fallen flat. The fact remains: the ongoing agrarian crisis is driving farmers from Vidarbha continue to end life.
According to reports reaching in Nagpur on Tuesday, four farmers committed suicide in the last 48 hours because of agrarian crisis and economic distress. The farmers' suicide toll has risen to 28 this month -- an average two suicide every day -- and 203 this year alone.
Among the victims, two were from Bhandara while one each from Buldhana and Amravati district. They were identified as: Ajgal Patle (50) of Mashalmeta, Asaram Khotle (48), Dharmapuri (both Bhandara district), Sudhakar Patil (35), Jambhuldhaba (Buldhana) and Prabhakar Barmase (52) of Benoda-Shahid in Amravati district.
Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti claimed that all the farmers were indebted and being loan defaulters, ended lives after realising that they would not get fresh crop loans in the coming kharif season that begins in next month, from any financial institution.
Expressing apprehensions, Tiwari said, "Farmers continue to commit suicide in the region and the figure may go up."
Agro-economist Srinivas Khandewale said that the crisis has many dimensions. It is not a single or simple cause that is responsible for this. There is the problem of high investment in almost all crops, particularly the cotton. Moreover, 85% land in the region is non-irrigated and under rain-fed area. "The crisis continues to haunt cotton farmers as farming has become unviable," he said.
According to Khandewale, farmers are facing a number of problems. Unless the state attends to them, the younger generation will not take to farming. He insisted that the government should at least provide food security to distressed farmers of the region. Besides, these farmers should be treated as BPL people so that they get eligible benefits for survival, he added.