The plight of Vidarbha farmers, and particularly cotton growers, seems never-ending with five more farmers committing suicides in last 24 hours, and that on the day of Makar Sankrant--- the first Hindu festival in the beginning of every year.
According to reports reaching in Nagpur on Monday, the farmers who have ended their lives, two were from Akola while one each from Nagpur, Yavatmal and Buldhana. They were: Tulsiram Bhatkar of Hiwarkhed, Umesh Mahadev Rane, Akotkhed (both in Akola district), Mahadev Kute of Umara (Buldhana), Leeladhar Shembekar, Mendholi (Nagpur) and Bandu Nibrad of Rampur -Khadki in Yavatmal district.
According to Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, which has been documenting the farmers' suicide since 2001, with the deaths of five farmers, the toll has reached to 33 this month alone. As many as 112 cotton growers have taken the drastic step last month while the figure was 107 in November last.
Tiwari blamed the state government for the mess. The state controlled cotton federation opened fewer procurement centres this year pushing the farmers to private traders, who paid Rs 100 per quintal less to them than the federation, Tiwari pointed out.
"The cotton marketing federation is adjusting 50 per cent of the loans of farmers that they had borrowed from the banks through the sell of raw cotton. Farmers are getting meager money through the sell and it led them to depress more, "he added.
With five more suicides, the toll has touched 1272 since June 2005, Tiwari further claimed.
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