Ravi Rana, the independent legislator from Amravati on Wednesday warned the state government that the situation of cotton, soyabean and paddy growers was so bad that they may commit mass suicide if the state fails to come to their rescue immediately. He has also threatened to renew his agitation for the farmers' demand for a compensation package to tide over crop losses.
Rana, who went an indefinite hunger strike last month in support of the remunerative price of raw cotton, later ended it after getting an assurance from the chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. The independent MLA under Yuwa Swabhimani Sanghatana had started a fast unto death agitation for hiking the support price of raw cotton from Rs 3,300 to Rs 6,000.
Rana, who was in Nagpur on Wednesday said he had suspended his indefinite fast undertaken last month after chief minister personally assured him that the government would provide urgent relief to farmers. Rana said that since no announcement had come from the government to provide farmers' relief, he would sit on fast again.
He ridiculed the Prithviraj Chavan government for not announcing a bail package for cotton and soyabean growers, citing the election code of conduct.
"While sugarcane farmers were given relief ignoring the election code of conduct, the chief minister now cited the code to withhold announcement of relief for cotton growers," he asked.
He has said that any announcement could be made only in the winter session of the legislature starting on December 12.
"But in last few days of my touring of the region I have noticed that the farmers are losing patience. I have serious apprehensions that during President's scheduled visit to Amravati between December 10-13, there could be incidents of a large number of farmer suicides. My worry is based on the fact that only last Sunday a farmer, Arun Sabane , consumed poisonous pesticide in front of the chief minister, who was addressing an election rally at Dhamangaon in Amravati district," Rane added.
Sabane, who is undergoing treatment at Yavatmal district hospital, is still struggling to survive.
"Sadly, instead of taking cognizance of the seriousness of the matter, the Congress leaders in the region have ridiculed it by terming the suicide attempt of the farmer and my protest fast last month as 'nothing but nautanki'. This shows how the ruling class is insensitive to the farmers' plight," said Rana.
Rana, who extended his support to the ruling coalition government has demanded immediate announcement of per hectare compensation of Rs 20,000 for cotton and Rs 15000 for soyabean while the minimum support price for the paddy should be Rs 2,500 per quintal.
"If the government fails to announce the package immediately, I have no option but to renew my agitation," he further warned.
Meanwhile, two more cotton growers from Vidarbha have committed suicide in last 24 hours.