7 farmers die in first 3 weeks in Vidarbha
DNA / Yogesh Pawar / Tuesday, January 22, 2013 6:49 IST
The first major festival of the new year, Makar Sankranti, has brought into sharp focus the plight of farmers in the suicide capital of the country, Vidarbha.
Two debt-ridden cotton farmers — Sanjay Mohurle, 42, of Dorli village and Ramu Shende, 34, of Manoli village in the Ghatanji tehsil of Yavatmal district — staring at drought-induced crop loss committed suicide on January 14.
This takes the toll for 2013 alone to seven. With four of the other five suicides also from Yavatmal (one is from Akola district), it has cruelly underlined once again how this district continues to be the epicentre of the agrarian crisis, which has forced nearly 8,500 dry land farmers to end their lives across Vidarbha due to debt since 2005.
DNA had reported on January 14 about how the Centre’s announcement last Thursday of Rs778 crore as aid for drought assistance to Maharashtra from the National Disaster Response Fund left out any mention of the crisis sweeping through the Vidarbha region had left many shocked.
On an average, three farmers end their lives every 24 hours in the region which has been reeling under its worst agrarian crisis ever due to truant rainfall leading to massive crop failure in cotton, paddy, pulses and soybean.
“The government’s aggressive drive to push GM cotton in order to benefit one bio-tech MNC since 2005 only compounded the problems faced by farmers. Now, though the government has had rethink on GM cotton, the damage is done and farmers trapped in debt spirals are not finding a way out,” lamented Kishore Tiwari of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, which has been spearheading the farm rights movement in the region.“Unless the government wakes up this crisis, the coming summer could see this problem only getting worse.”
Repeated attempts to reach Maharashtra agriculture minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil for a reaction drew a blank.
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