It was a black Diwali for the farmers of Vidarbha. Mounting debts and repeated crop failure once again drove five farmers to commit suicide over the last four days.
All the farmers were soyabean and cotton cultivators.
The number of farmers who have committed suicide this month have reached 53. It was 58 last month. As many as 648 farmers have ended their lives in the region since January.
Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, which has been documenting farmers’ suicide since 2001, demanded immediate action from the state. “The pest attack badly hit the soyabean yield and the crop would not be more than 30 per cent,” Tiwari said.
In a letter to Chief Secretary Johny Joseph, the Samiti said the farmers would face severe fodder, food and water crunch in the coming days. Sanjay Deshmukh, the district collector of Yavatmal, said: “The rainfall was only 51 per cent and it badly hit the kharif crops, particularly soyabean and cotton.”