As the number of distressed farmers committing suicide continues to rise in Maharashtra, the public health department said it will start a counselling programme, beginning with ten worst-hit talukas.
Indebtedness, loss of crop and even chronic illnesses of family members have been identified as the reasons pushing farmers to take the step. The department said it will get Anganwadi and Asha workers to identify such families, who will then be counselled by trained psychiatrists and psychologists.
Public health minister Deepak Sawant said on Wednesday the pilot project is being rolled out in ten talukas of two districts. “Osmanabad and Yavatmal are the two districts with the highest number of suicides recorded in past few years. The teams will identify families with piled up debt, chronic illness and loss of crop and information about these families will be handed over to doctors at public health centres,” he said.
As many farmers have been indebted because of chronic ailments of family members, they will be brought under the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayi Yojana. “This will ensure the family gets treatment free of charge,” Sawant said.
In light of the fratricide that shocked the ranks of the Mumbai police, the minister met police commissioner Rakesh Maria to discuss how counselling centres at police hospitals can be upgraded.
Regular counselling at the two police hospitals and 12 dispensaries in the city will help police personnel de-stress after their hectic duty hours, he said.