Even as the nation celebrated Dussehra, the cotton growing region of Vidarbha in Maharashtra continued to be haunted by farmer suicides with the death of seven more farmers in the last 48 hours.
According to reports, among the seven victims, three -- Waman Awari (43), Borgaon, Vijay Dandge (38) of Ratnapur, Dyaneshwar Choudhary (46), Iklara -- were from Yavatmal, one of the worst-hit areas of the region.
The other deceased were identified as: Prabhakar Wakte (40) of Kothari (Akola district), Lachhu Madavi (31) of Chopanguda (Chandrapur), Bhagirath Pathorkar (50), Sadrawadi (Amravati) and Raju Lahorkar (33) of Pimpalkhuti in Washim district.
These farmers ended their lives either by swallowing pesticide or hanging themselves, reports said.
Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti that has been documenting the farm suicides in the region since 2001 said most of the farmers took the drastic step as untimely rains damaged their crops.
"Farmers, who have been making loss every year because of crop failure or other reasons, are now shattered following the untimely rains that damaged their crops," he pointed out.
Tiwari claimed that on an average two farmers' killed themselves every day in the region despite two relief packages provided by the state and the Union governments to bailout the crisis ridden farmers.
"The crisis could be gauged from the fact that relatively well-off farmers are committing suicide too," he pointed out.
Mohan Jadhav, another farm activist of Yavatmal, felt that farmers were very worried about the damages to the crops.
"Farmers who were already in disarray due to mounting debts, the recent calamity was a blow for them which led them to take such steps," he added.
Kudsingh Rathod, sarpanch of Shivni village in Yavatmal which was very nearer to Ratnapur where Vijay Dandge committed suicide on Saturday, said that the situation this year is worse.
"Crops have damaged because of heavy and later untimely rains. There was no alternative but to commit suicide from the worst future," a distressed Kudsingh said.
The Yavatmal district collector, Sanjay Deshmukh, was clueless over the development.
"I could not understand that why farmers are committing suicide when the yield is comparatively better than the last year. Moreover, around Rs 630-crore were disbursed among the farmers as crop loans this year in the district," he informed.
The district collectorate is investigating the matter.
"I can only tell you about the exact reasons after a couple of days," he further said.
With the deaths of seven more farmers in the region, the toll has risen to 30 this month while the figure was 52 last month. Crippling debts have resulted in 622 farmers committing suicide in the region since January this year.
As many as 30 farmers have killed themselves in the region this month while the figure was 52 last month.
622 farmers have committed suicide because of agrarian crisis in the region since January this year.
As many as 916 farmers ended their lives in the region last year.
Six cotton-growing districts - Yavatmal, Wardha, Buldhana, Washim, Akola and Amravati – are the suicide-prone areas in Vidarbha. Of them, Yavatmal is the worst affected district.