8 more farmers commit suicide in Vidarbha, toll 324 this year
One Victim blames State Govt in Suicide Note, asks people not to vote for the ruling Congress-NCP Alliance
NAGPUR: The prevailing agrarian crisis sounded death knell for eight more farmers in the Vidarbha region in the last six days. Among the eight victims, four were from Yavatmal, one of the worst-hit districts in the region, while two were from Bhandara and one each from Washim and Amravati districts.
With the death of these eight farmers, the toll has risen to 24 for this month while the figure was 324 since January this year.
Of them, Gajanan Gotekar, 45, from Kothara village in Yavatmal, left behind a suicide note asking people not to vote for the ruling Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) as the Democratic Front alliance had miserably failed to solve the agrarian crisis in Vidarbha.
Gotekwar ended his life on April 19 by swallowing pesticide at his farm, as he could not repay a loan of around Rs66,000. He had also purchased a tractor with financial help from the Central Bank of India. But with crop failure and low prices for raw cotton, he could not repay the loan. Moreover, he was worried for not being able to arrange money for his daughter’s marriage. His suicide note said: “Don’t vote for the Congress and the NCP as they don’t care for farmers.”
“We have recovered the suicide note from Gotekar’s family and are verifying its handwriting,” said Sravan Hardikar, Yavatmal district collector.
Hardikar claimed that the administration was trying hard to control the ongoing farmers’ suicide in the district. “We have engaged around 3,400 people in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme in the district this year so that distressed farmers can earn their livelihood,” he said, adding that the administration has undertaken the responsibility of digging wells for farmers. He stressed on water conservation so that non-irrigated land could be upgraded to irrigated farms.
According to him, agrarian crisis is not the lone reason for the present crisis.
Many farmers have been forced to take loans to buy necessary supplies, but these have left them heavily in debt. Some turn to moneylenders, who charge much higher rates of interest, he said.
Other farmers, who ended their lives in the last six days are Pratap Sikte, 32, Kamlabai Chavan, 38, Bandu Shahankar, 45, (all from Yavatmal); Ramprasad Gopale, 44, Shyamu Lanjewar, 35, Moregaon (both from Bhandara district); Gajanan Thorat, 42, Mhaishal (Washim) and Sriram Kakde, 60, Sathegaon (from Amravati).
Kishore Tiwari, president of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti that has been documenting the farmers’ suicide since 2001, demanded that the government should assure the farmers of the suicide-prone district that all the loan defaulters in the region would get fresh crop loans in the coming kharif season.