Saturday, April 18, 2015

In Maha, 601 farmer suicides in 3 mths-The Times of India (Delhi)

Apr 19 2015 : The Times of India (Delhi)
In Maha, 601 farmer suicides in 3 mths

Vidarbha Bore The Brunt Of Crop Hit
As many as 601 farmers have killed themselves in Maharashtra between January and March this year. This works out to almost seven farmer suicides every day , according to the state government's figures.In 2014, the state had reported 1,981 farmer suicides. In just three months this year, it has reached 30% of that figure, despite the state government's claims that halting farmer suicides is its top priority. The suicide rate started climbing with the onset of drought last year, and the unseasonal rains has made things worse.
The cotton belt of Vidarbha-chief minister Devendra Fadnavis's hometown-continues to report the highest number of cases with 319 deaths, the data shows. The arid zone of Marathwada comes second with 215 cases.
Farmers' groups say the state's Rs 4,000 crore drought relief package translated into a very small sum per farmer, since as many as 90 lakh farmers were impacted. “It works out to just around Rs 1,875 an acre. Also, banks continued to demand repayments from farmers despite states' instructions to restructure loans,“ said Kishor Tiwari of the Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti.
The low price of crops and the lack of bank credit to farmers, which underpins the larger crisis in the farm sector, have not been addressed by the government, he pointed out. “It costs Rs 6,800 to grow a quintal of cotton, while price fixed by the government is Rs 4,000,“ Tiwari said.
“The farm crisis preceded our government. We have announced measures which will soon have an impact,“ said state agriculture minister Eknath Khadse. The state hopes to boost water conservation through its Jalyukta Shivar Yojana. It has also drafted an action plan, which includes restructuring bank loans and waiving loans worth Rs 171 crore from moneylenders.

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