Vidarbha: 48 hrs, eleven suicides


NAGPUR: Agrarian crisis in Vidarbha is only deepening everyday. With 11 more farmers committing suicide in the last 48 hours, the toll in the current month has mounted to 87, while that in the last 14 months has gone up to 696.

On Friday, two farmers committed suicide in Mohi village of Selu taluka in Wardha district on Friday. While Rambhau Pundlik Thakare had an outstanding loan of Rs 1.16 lakh, Vasant Ramaji Mohite had incurred debts of Rs 56,000.

Three others in Buldana district, two each in Yavatmal, Washim and Akola also ended their lives in the killing fields of Vidarbha during the period, according to Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti president Kishore Tiwari.

With the spate of suicides in Vidarbha showing no signs of relenting, there is speculation that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may visit the region again in August to review the situation.

Sources said the government is also considering the growing demand for a complete waiver of loan to small and marginal farmers in five districts of Amravati division

A union minister confirmed that the loan-waiver demand was moved in the last cabinet meeting, but he said it was unlikely to be met as clamour for such relief would grow in other states like AP, Karnataka and Kerala, which also faced similar crisis.

He also ruled out PM‘s second visit to Vidarbha. The PM had visited Vidarbha on June 30 and July 1 and before leaving Nagpur announced Rs 3,750 crore package for the six most affected districts.

The package granted a waiver of interest on all bank loans, a fund of Rs 50 lakh per district from PM‘s relief fund and Rs 180 crore for quality seeds supply that could be of immediate help, besides a Rs 2,177 crore fund spread over next three years for expediting irrigation projects.

Ironically, instead of stemming the wave, suicides increased and 87 farmers have already given up lives in desperation.

Activists as well as opposition parties had raised a din saying the PM’s Nagpur package did not address immediate concerns like better price for cotton and loan waiver, as farmers were too stressed to handle old dues.

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