Agrarian crisis claimed four more distressed farmers of Vidarbha over the last two days.
Reports reaching here this evening said that among the four victims, two were from cotton growing Yavatmal district -- the black soil region -- where over 100 farmers have committed suicide due to crippling debts and crop failure this year alone. The two other victims one each was from Washim and Gadchiroli district.
The farmers are desperately struggling to meet rising input costs. Crop failure means there is no way to repay existing loans that will only grow with high interest rates.
These farmers committed suicide after receiving a severe blow when their first sowing washed way following the recent incessant rains. They then took up resowing operations from the loans obtained from private money lenders. Their fields needed getting rid of weeds and they had no money, the reports said.
The victims were identified as: Ramji Shelke (70) of Pardi village, Vilas Pawar (42), Dhanora (both Yavatmal district), Balu Jadhav (32), Asola (Washim) and Namdeo Watti (45) of Wadgoan in Gadchiroli district. Among them, Shelke, Pawar and Watti killed themselves by swallowing pesticide while Jadhav committed suicide by hanging himself.
"Vilas Pawar was distressed because of re-sowing the crops as once his sowing washed away after last month’s heavy rains. Non-availability of funds for cleaning the field and using pesticide had left him deeply worried," says Mohan Jadhav, a farm leader of Yavatmal.
Jadhav alleged that lot of nationalized banks are not giving crop loans this time to farmers that led them to approach private money lenders to charge high interests.
Shravan Hardikar, the district collector of Yavatmal admitted that few nationalized banks refused to provide crop loans to defaulters. “We have given ultimatum to them and give them target for disbursing crop loans,” he added. Hardikar, claimed that over Rs 600-crore crop loans were disbursed among farmers this kharif season.
Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, a farmer’s pressure group, said that debt-ridden farmers were committing suicide out of frustration and inability to pay loans borrowed from banks and private money lenders.
"The region has seen nine farmers committing suicide this month and the figure may go up," he informed and informed that the figure was 52 last month. "The lack of timely government intervention is evident as Vidarbha continues to post the most number of farm suicides in the country for the 14th successive year," Tiwari alleged.
With the deaths of these four farmers, the government has put the toll at 383 in the region since January 2011. However, Tiwari claimed the figure was 471 this year.