Nobody should expect miracles overnight from the Centre's financial package to stem the tide of farmer suicides in Vidarbha, officials of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) said on Saturday as they met state government personnel in the city to review the package.
Four more farmers committed suicide in Vidarbha in the past 24 hours leading up to the meeting. The Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, which is maintaining a record of the suicides, claimed that the toll since June last year had reached 1,057. So far, November has seen 18 farmer suicides. October saw 112, September 125, August 111 and July 90.
It was in June-July that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his visit to Vidarbha, had announced an economic package of Rs 3,750 crore to bail out the farmers. The package has failed in preventing the suicides and the frequency has only been rising.
Nabard chairman YSP Thorat pointed out that the results of the package would be visible only after some time. "There is a time difference between administering the medicine and its effect. We have instructed the bank personnel to visit those who could not be reached earlier," Thorat said.
Thorat claimed that banks had already disbursed Rs 1,668 crore to 9.17 lakh farmers in the kharif season, as compared to a meagre Rs 746 crore last year.
Kishore Tiwari of the Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti said the situation was going from bad to worse. He, however, welcomed Nabard's decision.
Amravati Divisional Commissioner SK Goel said only concessions would not control the suicides, which is why the administration had introduced courses run by the Art of Living, an organisation dedicated to inner growth of the individual, in some villages to psychologically empower farmers.