It was a dark Diwali for Vidarbha’s farmers. Mounting debts and crop failure have driven seven farmers to suicide over the last four days in Maharashtra’s Vidharbha region.
Poor crop output has taken a heavy toll on the region where two farmers commit suicide wevery day, on an average.
Most of the latest suicides were reported from districts of Yavatmal and Chandrapur, 700 km east of Mumbai.
The victims, primarily soyabean and cotton cultivators, have been identified as Babusingh Rathod (51), Mahadeo Sonpanje (32), Posatti Gharekar (40), Satish Awadi (29), Sukhdeo Thawas (45), Sunil Meshram (33) and Ramchandra Rathod (35).
A delayed monsoon and the resultant shortfall in rains damaged soyabean and cotton crops, leaving farmers with little savings after selling their produce.
Also, severe pest attacks destroyed large tracts of soyabean and cotton fields. With no sign of rain, the jowar crop may meet the same fate.
Kishore Tiwari of the Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, that has been documenting farmers’ suicides since 2001, demanded the government come to their aid.
“The pest attack badly hit the soyabean yield and the crop would not be more than 30 per cent. The government should announce a special package of Rs 10,000 crore to bail out Vidarbha’s farmers,” Tiwari said.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Yavatmal District Collector Sanjay Deshmukh said three farmers had committed suicide in the district in last three days.
“The rainfall in the district was only 51 per cent of the normal level. It badly affected the kharif crop, particularly soyabean and cotton,” Deshmukh said.
648 farmers have killed themselves in Vidarbha since January this year, Tiwari said. Last year, between January and October, 853 farmers had ended their lives.