NAGPUR: Even as six more cases of suicide by farmers were reported in the last three days in Vidarbha, hundreds of farmers are expected to join a protest at Maregaon in Yavatmal, the worst-hit district in the state's cotton belt that has borne the brunt of the farm crisis.
The suicide toll has gone up to 20 in the first month of the New Year. According to the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) which has been monitoring the farm suicides crisis, the victims were identified as Dipak Awari of Vanojadevi village in Yavatmal, Baliram Bharsakale of Sirsoli in Akola, Namdeo Misar of Doksarandi in Bhandara, Jivan Kodape of Ramgoan and Vinay Kalpande of Masod in Amaravati and Santosh Ganphade of Dhindasi in Chandrapur district.
Maregoan was chosen as the venue for the protest because it was a year ago that a parliamentary committee headed by Basudeb Acharya visited this village to look into causes of the agrarian crisis. "But like many other official inquiry reports that studied the situation of farmers in distress in Vidarbha, the parliamentary report has also failed to move the government," said Kishore Tiwari of VJAS.
"The government has failed to provide food security, health care facility and educational help to distressed farmers and families of deceased farmers. The national commission for farmers (NCF) headed by M S Swaminathan and Narendra Jadhav has made several recommendations in this regard, but were ignored by the government," said Babytai Bais, president of Vidarbha farmer's widows association.
The protest is against the government policy which is completely apathetic to this region while concentrating all attention on the drought situation in five districts of western Maharashtra, she added.