Three farmers commit suicide in Vidarbha in last 24 hours
The very purpose of government offering loan waivers and special packages to desist farmers from committing suicide seems defeated. This is glaringly more evident in Vidarbha, where three more farmers have taken the extreme step in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 16 in September.india Updated: Sep 14, 2009 19:01 IST
The very purpose of government offering loan waivers and special packages to desist farmers from committing suicide seems defeated. This is glaringly more evident in Vidarbha, where three more farmers have taken the extreme step in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 16 in September. In August 48 farmers had ended their life.
The latest victims were identified as: Sahebrao Deshmukh of Yeoli village (Amravati), Devendra Khurate, Arvi (Wardha) and Ramdas Choudhary of Bhejgaon in Chandrapur district.
Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, a farmers’ pressure group of the region that been documenting farmers’ suicides since 2001, claimed that on average two farmers are committing suicide everyday in the region and particularly in the cotton-growing district of Yavatmal. Over 200 farmers from the district alone have killed themselves since January this year, he further claimed.
The sudden spurt in farm suicide may well emerge as a major election issue in the October state assembly elections. In recent Lok Sabha elections, the same issue dealt a humiliating defeat to the ruling Congress-NCP alliance in the killing fields of western Vidarbha where all the seats – Akola, Buldhana, Yavatmal and Amravati were won by the Sena-BJP alliance.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Rekha Saire (26) of Hiwra village in Yavatmal district, who lost her husband, Dilip (30) on September 4 this year, said that her husband swallowed pesticide in the farm when cotton and jowar crops failed because of deficient rains.
Dilip’s death stunned the residents of Hiwra where a marginal farmer Shankarsinh Bais ended his life owing to crippling debts and crop failure last year.
“My husband borrowed Rs 25,000 from private money lenders and Rs 15,000 loan from the local cooperative bank. When he realised that he would not be able to repay the amount due to crop failure, he ended his life by consuming poison,” she said.
Former Shetkari Sanghatana president Vijay Janwandhia said that in the absence of adequate irrigation and remunerative support prices, the farmers continue to suffer due to the manipulative politicians, apathetic bureaucracy and greedy moneylenders.
Though the government had announced over Rs 5,000-crore package to bail out the distressed farmers in the region and central government announced an Rs 71,000-crore loan waiver, these do not seem to provide any relief to indebted farmers.
Many farmers say help has yet to reach them. In fact, as many as 279 farmers committed suicide in the region since the union government had announced the loan waivers.
A farmer widow is normally paid Rs 1 lakh as compensation by the state government. “However, I have not received anything so far. Moreover, not a single government official has come in the village to inquire about us,” rued Rekha, who is left with the mammoth responsibility of paying off his debts while looking after their two small children. She also wants to send her two daughters—Shubhangi (8) and Vaishali (6) to school. But where will the money come from?
Tiwari pointed out that a substantial amount of farmers package was siphoned off by the politicians of ruling party or their kin. Among the beneficiaries was the former Lok Sabha member from Yavatmal, Uttamrao Patil.