At least five "debt trapped" farmers have committed suicide in the last 48 hours in Maharashtra's agrarian crisis hit Vidarbha region, taking the toll to 332 in the state in 2012, an activist said in Mumbai on Tuesday.
"Ramdas Dhale of village Chincholi in Yavatmal district committed suicide early Tuesday. He was a cotton farmer who was in debt trap of around Rs.3 lakh," said Kishor Tiwari, president of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), a farmer advocacy group.
"In the last 48 hours, four other farmers also committed suicide after they could not repay their debt. Their names are Ajabrao Meshram of Shivani and Ramnna Pedkulwar of Aril in Yavatmal, Parvatibai Kadel of Poharadevi in Washim, and Shriram Kakad of Sategaon in Amaravati," he added.
Tiwari said the total number of suicides by farmers has reached 332 in the four months of 2012.
He lamented that in spite of visits by several committees and political leaders, including Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, not much is being done to helpfarmers or prevent their suicides.
"As per official admission of Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Balasaheb Vikhe Patil, this year cotton cultivation has jumped to more than 44 lakh hectares in dry land region of Mahrashtra covering Vidarbha, Marathwada, Khandesh and North Maharashtra, but due to drought the yield has dropped to 45 lakh bales in comparison to last year's yield of 86 lakh bales," Tiwari said.
"Moreover, cost of cultivation has jumped to almost double, not to mention lack of proper irrigation facilities for rain sensitive BT cotton crop," he added.