Vidarbha: 16 farm suicides in 2013, crisis grows
DNA / Yogesh Pawar / Tuesday, January 22, 2013 6:49 IST
Mounting debt and resulting despair and distress due to crop losses has forced six more farmers to kill themselves in the last 48 hours in Vidarbha. Farm widows and bereaved families have now exhorted the region to mark the Republic Day as Black Day.
Namdeo Thoke, 58, from Benoda village in Amravati district, Balaji Thaori, 28, from Dahegoan (Zari) in Yavatmal, Dinkar Navarkhede, 36, from Sakhari in Chandrapur district,Ramdas Gohane, 37, of Chittegoan in Chandrapur district, Gajanan Raut, 32, from Jawra-bori in Chandrapur and Janrao Nagle, 39, from Khed in Amravatiended their lives in the last 48 hours, taking the toll for 2013 to 16. Since the government tied hands with an MNC to aggressively promote GM cotton in 2005, nearly 8,500 farmers have already ended their lives due to flawed policies.
It may be recalled that DNA had earlier reported how on January 14, when the nation was celebrating Makar Sankranti, three farmers had ended their lives.
“One fails to understand why the local administration is keeping the state government in the dark about the extent of BT cotton failure when 4.2 million hectares, even with irrigation, have suffered massive crop failure.” said Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), which is fighting for farmers' rights.
A local tehsildar told DNA on condition of anonymity, "Farmers like me have spent in the excess of Rs50,000 per hectare,yet we are suffering losses to the tune of Rs18-20,000 per hectare."
Interestingly, the government which was offering a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs4,500 per quintal last year, has brought it down to Rs3,960 per quintal. "Farmers held on to the cotton, thinking the government will wake up and revise the prices. Now, we are forced to off-load raw cotton at throwaway prices of Rs3,500 per quintal and lesser," the tehsildartold DNA. "Only urgent relief on the MSP front and compensation for cotton failure can help alleviate distress that is forcing farmers to kill themselves."
Tiwari points out another irony. "Government ministers are spending Rs100 crore on the ‘Advantage Vidarbha’ meet to attract investment. Competitively, BJP's national presidentNitin Gadkari is busy arranging ‘Agro Vision', spending more than that. While grand preparations are on for both events in February at Nagpur, nobody has thought it fit to visit the crisis-ridden farmers."
According to him, the current suicides coming on the heels of the Nagpur session of Maharashtra assembly failing to discuss this issue, has come as a major blow to the farmers who are already suffering. Despite the government's own figures showing 4.2 million hectares badly affected in Vidarbha, none of the districts in the region are covered in the recentRs778 crore relief aid announced by the Centre to the state.
"To protest this apathy and draw the attention of the Centre, hundreds of farm widows will fast on Republic Day,” informed Tiwari.
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