The meagre minimum guarantee price for raw cotton and the government's nonchalance to intervene has only added to the prevailing distress among the farmers of Vidarbha.
The region, which has been witnessing unabated farmers' suicide, reported three more deaths in the last 24 hours.
With the deaths of three farmers, the death toll goes up to 10 farmers, who have committed suicide due to crippling debts, crop failure and not getting the remunerative price of their produce in the first 15 days of year 2013. The figure was 927 last year.
According to reports, three cotton growers from Yavatmal district in western part of Vidarbha ended their lives on Monday, on the eve of Makar Sankrant, the harvest festival.
The victims were identified as: Ramrao Shende (35) of Manoli, Sanjay Mahalle (43) of Dorli and Puroshottam Parsutkar (48) of Maregaon village.
Ramrao and Sanjay swallowed pesticide while Puroshottam killed by hanging himself, the reports claimed.
The district collector of Yavatmal, Ashwinkumar Mudgal, admitted to have received reports of suicide by three farmers from different parts of the district.
"I have instructed the concerned tahsildars to inquire into the matter and submit a report immediately," he said. The tahsildars have also been asked to enquire that whether the victims were committed suicide because of agrarian crisis, he added.
Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti claimed that the farmers were depressed due to crop failure and later a meagre guarantee price of cotton.
The cotton growers who got a rate of over Rs 5,500 per quintal in the open market last season as against the government-announced rate of Rs 3,900 per quintal as minimum support price this year, he said.
The cultivation cost has almost doubled this year due to unusual rise in the prices of seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and labour rate whereas the market prices of cash crops, like raw cotton and soyabean are much lower than that of last year.
Moreover, till date there has been no intervention from the government for procurement of crops at the guarantee price, forcing farmers to offload their crops at throwaway prices resulting in heavy losses.
"The desperate farmers are already struggling to meet rising input costs. The crop failure means there is no way to repay existing loans, which in turn mean, added interest on the loan dues and added misery," Tiwari said.