The unending agrarian crisis — characterised by heavy indebtedness, nature's vagaries and failed crops — in the farmers' suicide belt of Vidarbha claimed seven more lives over the last 72 hours.
Among the victims, a father-son duo committed suicide because of debts and crop failure, reports reaching here on Monday said. The farmers' suicide toll in Vidarbha has risen to 565 since January 2012.
Among the other suicide victims, four were from Buldhana district while one each from Yavatmal, Washim and Amravati district. There were: Baliram Wagh, Shivaji Wagh (both from Pokhri village), Rama Kharat of Jiroli village, Prakash Jadhav, Karegaon (all Buldhana district), Sunil Choudhary, Karanja (Washim), Yashwant Chavan, Sultanpur (Amravati) and Shankar Mudholkar of Shahi village in Yavatmal district.
Baliram Wagh (61), a cotton grower of Pokhri villager ended his life by hanging in his farm while his son Shivaji (34) killed himself by hanging at their residence on Saturday evening. This the first time in the killing fields of Vidarbha where a debt-ridden father-son farmer duo, ended life following debts and crop failure.
According to Ravikant Tupkar of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, a farmers' pressure group, a marginal farmer, Waghs borrowed Rs 75,000 crop loan from district co-operative bank in 2011 but could not repay it because of crop failure and not getting the remunerative price of raw cotton.
This year they borrowed loans from private moneylenders as the bank refused to give loans to them being defaulter. "Raw cotton and soyabean crops dried up initially because of scanty rain and later crops re-sown washed away following heavy rains in August. Depressed with the development and anxious over inability to repay the money lenders' loans, both the father and son might have ended their lives," Tupkar pointed out.
When the HT tried to contact Buldhana district collector BG Wagh in this regard, he was not available for comments, despite repeated phone calls.
Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Jandolan Samiti blamed the state government for its casual approach on the serious issue. "The state government is now engaged in petty politics and has little time to bailout the crisis-ridden farmers of Vidarbha," he alleged and urged the Manmohan Singh government to intervene into the matter immediately.
"If the government wants to prevent farmers' suicide, at least it should come out with food security programme for the distressed farmers and waive all the crop loans to them, ensuring that defaulters would get fresh loans next season," he added.
Farmer suicides in Vidarbha
2012 (September 30): 565