According to reports on Saturday, among the latest victims, five were from Chandrapur, four from Amravati while one each from Wardha and Yavatmal district in eastern part of the region. Of them, a couple - Archana Khiradkar (25) and Ravindra Khiradkar (27) of Sonarli village in Chandrapur had ended their lives because of agrarian crisis, the reports said.
Mohan Jadhav, an activist of farmers’ pressure group, pointed out that the cotton farmers in Vidarbha were committing suicide at an alarming frequency as the farmers were not getting the remunerative prices of their produce. The government guarantee price for the raw cotton is just Rs 3000 per quintal while it hardly matches with the rising cost of production, he claimed.
“The agrarian crisis of the region has transformed the green fields into killing fields and the new chief minister Prithviraj Chavan should take the issue seriously,” urges Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti that has been documenting farm suicide in the region since 2001.
Tiwari continued, “In view of the prevailing situation in rural areas of Vidarbha, especially in cotton growing region, the government should enhance the guarantee price of raw cotton from Rs 3000 to Rs 4,500 per quintal. Moreover, the government should provide food security to distressed farmers to prevent the on-going suicide.’
Tiwari sent a letter to the new chief minister in this regard. Sanjay Deshmukh, the district collector of Yavatmal, one of the worst-affected districts in the region, however, was not available for comments.
With the deaths of 11 more farmers, the toll has reached to 23 this month alone while the figure was 60 last month. As many as 663 farmers have ended their lives in the region since January this year while it was 916 last year.