Even as Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar was attending a massive 'Janata Darbar' (public hearing) in Yavatmal town of Vidarbha region, four debt-ridden farmers committed suicide, an activist said in Yavatmal, Maharashtra on Saturday.
"While Pawar was attending this event in Yavatmal, as a part of a political campaign Friday, news of four more debt-trapped and distressed farmers who lost their standing crop due heavy rains this season spread in the town," said Kishor Tiwari, president of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), a farmers' advocacy group.
The farmers have been identified as Pundlik Uke of Salebhati, Dipal Vajpayee of In Phulsawangi, Atul Kute of Tirzada and Sitaran Rathode of Sewadas Nagar, all villages of Yavatmal district.
"This takes the tally of farmers' suicides in Vidarbha to 536 in 2012 alone," Tiwari said.
"As per official government records, more than 9,000 dry land farmers have killed themselves due to distress and despair owing to crop failure and economic losses since 2005," Tiwari said.
Tiwari also alleged that a rosy picture is being painted by the local politicians and the Maharashtra chief minister is being kept in the dark about the severely bad condition of farmers in the region.
"More than three million distressed farmers are denied food security, health services and alternate sustainable sources of livelihood, forcing them to kill themselves. The chief minister is being kept in the dark by the administration by giving a rosy picture of Vidarbha, which is the main cause of worry," Tiwari lamented.