The on-going agrarian crisis claimed four more cotton growers of Vidarbha in last 24 hours, reports said on Monday.
The distressed farmers who killed themselves were identified as: Kailash Solanki of Karanjkhed, Kisan Mahurle, Sonbardi (both are from Yavatmal district), Jeevan Raghatate, Rehaki (Wardha) and Ratan Nagtode of Udapur village in Chandrapur district. All the four farmers reportedly swallowed pesticides and ended their lives, the reports added.
With four cotton growers committing suicide in the last 24 hours, a total 668 farmers have so far killed themselves in the region since January this year because of agrarian crisis while the figure reached to 17 this month alone. The figure was 52 last month.
Of them, maximum farmers are from Yavatmal district, one of the worst-affected districts in the region.
According to Kishore Tiwari, the convenor of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, a farmers' pressure group, on an average two farmers commit suicide in the region every day. But there is no concern expressed by the state power, he rued.
"The government should immediately increase the minimum guarantee price of raw cotton and provide food security to distressed and marginal farmers in the region in view of the prevailing situation," he demanded and informed that all the victims were from cotton growing belt of western Vidarbha that is the worst hit by the agrarian crisis.
Dr Srinivas Khandewale, the agro-economist of the area also endorsed the statement of Tiwari and said that hike in the minimum support price was the best option to prevent such killings in the region. "The government announced a meager rate of Rs 3,300 per quintal this year while the rate was more than Rs 6,000 per quintal last season," he claimed.
In view of the growing agro-input costs, the government should hike the guarantee price of raw cotton and prevent the exploitation of farmers from the traders, he further said.
Sravan Hardikar, the district collector of Yavatmal, however, was not available for comments.