Despite the tall claims of the Prithviraj Chavan government that it has succeeded to minimise the farmers' suicide in Vidarbha, the problem continues unabated in the region. This time four debt-ridden farmers took the extreme step when the state was celebrating its 51st formation day, on May 1.
According to reports reaching on Monday, as many as four distressed farmers have ended their lives in different parts of Vidarbha in last 48 hours because of agrarian crisis. Of them, two were from Yavatmal, one of the worst affected districts in the region and one each from Buldhana and Amravati. The victims have identified as: Rajanna Kayapalliwar (45) of Salburdi, Bhaurao Shendur (55), Saikheda (both Yavatmal), Govind Ghule (32), Dhanora (Buldhana) and Budharam Sonwane (76) of Amla in Amravati district. All of them committed suicide by swallowing pesticide, the reports added.
Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti that has been documenting the farmers' suicide in the region claimed that Bhaurao Shendur of Saikheda village was the seventh victims of the village of agrarian crisis.
"Hit by crop failure and unable to repay their loans, cultivators, most of them cotton growers, continue to take their own lives," he said and pointed out that much-hyped relief packages from the union and the state governments even could not prevent it because of wanton corruption in the implementation.
The report, prepared by the comptroller and auditor general of India (CAG) even criticised the state and said that there have been serious efficiency lapses in implementation of the relief schemes. Tiwari also blamed poor implementation and lack of co-ordination between the government agencies for the failures.
Moreover, grossly inadequate irrigation facilities in the region as well as an erratic monsoon and fluctuating market dynamics have aggravated the crisis, he further pointed out.
With the deaths of these four farmers, the toll has risen to 178 this year while the figure was 748 last year. As many as 41 farmers committed suicide in April alone because of agrarian crisis in the region.
The well-known agro-economist of the region, Srinivas Khandewale said if the suicides continued at the present rate, the number would hit more than 700 this year.
Sanjay Deshmukh, the district collector of Yavatmal, however, claimed that the farmers' suicide in the region minimized this year because of better crop loan disbursement among farmers. "We have succeeded to disburse around 738-crore crop loans in Yavatmal district alone in 2010-11 season while the target would be around Rs 1000-crore for the district in the current financial year," he informed.
He, however, regretted that the nationalized banks in the area were giving the due operation in the "mission."