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Debt-trap | Six farmers die in Vidarbha

The number of farmers' suicide cases continue to pile up in Vidarbha region reeling under agrarian crisis, reports Pradip Kumar Maitra.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2007 18:39 IST

The number of farmers' suicide cases continue to pile up in Vidarbha region reeling under agrarian crisis. Six more farmers from the cotton-belt have ended their lives in the last 48 hours.

According to reports reaching Nagpur on Wednesday, three farmers from Yavatmal and one each from Bhandara, Akola and Wardha were the victims of one of the worst-ever agrarian crisis in the region. With six more deaths the number of farmers who committed suicide has reached 70 in the current month.

The latest victims were identified as: Chandrabhan Gulab Malande of Wadgaon, Gajanan Bhagade, Dhotre, Durvesh Zhamre of Pimpalkhuti (all in Yavatmal district), Prahlad Shelke of Bordi (Akola), Vishwanath Bramhankar of Nilajtoli (Bhandara) and Hanuman Pandurang Raut of Kurla in Wardha district.

As many as 1327 farmers, most of them cotton growers, were reported to have committed suicide in the region since June 2005 because of mounting debts, failure of crop and non-availability of remuneration price of their produces.

Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti blamed the state sponsored cotton cooperative marketing federation for the recent deaths. "Farmers, who are in huge debts, are unable to sell their raw cotton because of the sudden closure of cotton procurement centres by the federation in several areas. They were compelled to sell it at lower price to private traders. This has resulted in anger and depression among farmers. They are struggling to cope with depression and a lot of them are on the brink of suicide," he claimed.

On the other hand, NP Hirani, chairman of the state cotton cooperative marketing federationsaid that few centres were closed down temporarily for certain specific reasons. "We have already procured 32 lakh quintals of raw cotton this year while Cotton Corporation of India purchased 28 lakh and private traders procured 125 lakh quintals of raw cotton this season that began from November 6 last year," he further said.

According to him, the federation also promptly paid the payment to farmers after buying their produce. "Before closing the procurement centres we will certainly inform the farmers officially," he added.

As many as 70 farmers have ended their lives this month. While the figure was 105 in December, it was 107 in November, 112 in October and 125 in September.

Talking to Hindustan Times, SK Goel, the divisional commissioner of Amravati and coordinator of the packages, said that the declining trend showed that the packages were giving dividends.

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First Published: Jan 31, 2007 13:38 IST