Saturday, August 16, 2008

Farmers' suicides continue in Vidarbha

Farmers' suicides continue in Vidarbha

Saturday, August 16, 2008, (Wardha, Maharashtra)

Twenty-one farmers have committed suicide in the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra in the last fortnight, and these are official figures.

The distressing situation in the region had pushed the UPA government to announce a loan waiver.

Ashish Jadhav is left with only memories of his parents. He lost his mother to cancer, his father, faced with massive loan for his wife's treatment, took his own life last week. Now Ashish is left with both land and a massive loan.

"He had to repay a private loan of Rs 60-70,000. They used to come asking for money. He had none, only promises, said Ashish Jadhav, son of the deceased farmer.

Ashish's father is among 21 farmers in Vidarbha who have committed suicide in the last fortnight. This despite the UPA's loan waiver announced in February.

Hollow promise?
  • Only a handful of farmers have received the money to date
  • Because local banks are yet to receive the bulk of funds
  • Even worse, many here didn't qualify the for waiver
  • The average land holding is above the 2 hectare cut off

    Meanwhile, the death dance continues, there were 315 suicides in Vidarbha in the last six months alone.

    No wonder tillers like Pandurang Jadhav are living on the edge.

    "We got the loan waiver but did they get fresh loans? No they didn't, consequently they had to look out for other sources for loan," said Pandurang Jhade, farmer, Wardha District.

    Those who did qualify, received the money after the sowing season, pushing them further into the arms of money lenders.

    And with the monsoon arriving several weeks late, things could only get bleaker.

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