Maha furore as 7 debt-hit farmers end life in 72 hours

Yavatmal, Sep 20 : As the Ganeshotsav festival commenced, Maharashtra was rocked by seven farmers suicides in the past 72 hours from the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, a top farm activist said here on Wednesday.

The suicides were reported from Yavatmal (6) and Wardha (1) in the past less than three days, said Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti President and Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Kishore Tiwari.

They are: Pravin Kale of Hivari, Trabank Keram of Khidki, Maroti Chavan of Shivni, Gajanand Shinde of Arjuna, Tevichand Rathos of Banegaon, Nitin Pane of Jamwadi (all in Yavatmal), and Dinesh Madavi of Rantapur in Wardha district, said Tiwari.

“Of these, six suicides were reported in the past 48 hours and one a day before on Sunday. Most of them are from the deprived sections of society and they took the extreme due to the burden of huge debts, crop failures and little or no help coming from the state government,” said Tiwari grimly.

With the latest deaths, the farmlands’ suicides toll in the state has shot up to 1,586 from January 2023, said the VJAS leader who has been tracking the agrarian crises that has been claiming lives without break since 1997.

“Everyday we are getting reports of one-or-two tillers’ suicides cases from a small region like Vidarbha… The situation in other states is hardly known. Yet, the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre is harping tall claims of making India a USD Five Trillion economy in the near future…how is it possible,” said Tiwari.

He said that if the government is indeed serious about the agrarian crisis gripping large parts of the country owing to the truant monsoon, then Prime Minister Narendra Modi should discuss the issue along with Vidarbha in the ongoing Special Session of Parliament.

“Despite claims by the Centre and the state government, the core issues of costs, crops and credit are not addressed, thus driving the farmers to end their lives, and it has virtually assumed ‘genocidal’ proportions now. Relief packages are announced with great fanfare but they fail to penetrate fully or provide relief to the rural economy that has crashed,” declared Tiwari.

Coupled with the climate change complications, the uneven monsoon this year with a drought-like situation confronts at least 10 districts around Maharashtra, the main cash crop cotton facing very low demand, input costs have shot up phenomenally and low credit is provided by the public sector banks.

All these have combined to put brakes on the rural economy besides the government’s failure to promote sustainable food pulses and oilseeds crops in the region, leaving farmers with no options but suicide, he added.