Thursday, February 19, 2009

Eight more farmers commit suicide in Vidarbha-Hindustan Times

Eight more farmers commit suicide in Vidarbha

Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times
Nagpur, February 19, 2009

The agrarian crisis in the Vidrabha region has deepened further with eight more farmers committing suicides during the last 72 hours. With this, the toll has risen to 38 during this month alone. The last month's figure of farmers' suicides was 64.

Kishor Tiwari, president of Vidarbha Jana Andolan Samiti, an NGO fighting for farmers' rights, released this grim statistics for the tragedy unfolding in the region without any remedy in sight. He said that most of the farmers have ended their lives due to mounting debts and crop failure. "You cannot call these deaths as suicides. It is virtually genocide because failure of the system and the government's apathy has caused this tragedy. The surviving farmers are now in dire need of financial aid because the only cash crop they relied on--- cotton-- had failed miserably," he said.

Tiwari said that as many as 1246 farmers so far killed themselves because of debts and other agrarian crisis in Vidarbha during 2008, leaving their wives and children penniless condition. Despite the multi-crore-rupee relief package offered by the State and union governments to help crisis-hit cotton growers, farmer-suicides have continued simply because the aid failed to reach the target group, he alleged.

According to Tiwari, the state government's wrong approach in addressing this agrarian crisis is responsible for continuing suicides. All toll claims of agriculture growth, credit and economic reforms in rural sector are only on paper. The interim budget presented by the UPA Govt. has shown rosy picture of rural India where as situation in countryside is very critical. "It is unfortunate that state failed to give fresh farm credit even after the loan waiver and debt trapped farmers in distressed area were forced to take huge crop loan from private money lenders that led to more suicides," Tiwari further claimed.

The state and the union government had announced two separate relief packages of Rs 4,800-crore for the crisis-ridden farmers of the region. Later, the union government came out with another loan-waiving package of Rs 71,000-crore. When the farmers' suicide continued unabated, the state again announced another package of Rs 6,205-crore in December last year. But even this could not prevent the farmers' suicide in the region.

The latest suicide victims were identified as : Anandrao Thakre of Kasarbehar village, Baban Dongre, Kurad, Gulab Waghmare of Kalamb (all in Yavatmal district), Janrao Tayade, Chamak (Amravati), Krishna Sathe, Nandora village, Vasudeo Gomase, Akoli (both in Wardha district), Harish Burande, Virli (Bhandara) and Gajanan Wavge of Dahigaon (Buldhana).

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