They are struggling to make both ends meet and are finding it difficult to support their families.
The number of farmer suicides has increased in Marathwada from 160 in 2015 to 280 this year in first four months. Latur one of the worst hit district by drought has witnessed 29 suicides in 2015 which has increased to 31 this year. The suicide numbers in Hingoli has risen from 15 to 23, while it has increased from 57 to 69 in Nanded and 13 to 29 in Jalna. Aurangabad had reported 46 farmers suicide in 2015 which has increased to 59 this year while the figures rose from 27 to 48 in Osmanabad district. Marathwada has seen 20-25 farmer suicides every week. Vidarbha and Marathwada, with 5.7 million farmers, accounted for 83 percent of all farmer suicides in Maharashtra in 2015.
Most of the farmers have ended their lives due to poor monsoon and crop failure. Many of them had taken loans and were unable to repay them to moneylenders. Farmers are struggling to make both ends meet and are finding it difficult to support their family. They are unable to pay fees of the children for attending schools and colleges. Their children’s studies too get disrupted as they have to fill water instead of studying. Many of them have stopped the cultivation of sugarcane as it requires more water. They have started cultivating other crops like soyabean and tur dal which consumes less water. Even though weather bureau has predicted good monsoon this year but it won’t provide any relief to farmers. The prevailing drought situation in the country has affected the agricultural and rural section of the society.
Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan said, “It is very unfortunate that there has been a sharp rise in the number of farmer suicides. The suicide rate recorded in 2015 has been the highest since last 13 years. The number of suicide occurred in the first four months of this year has already surpassed the figures reported in the same period last year. The government has been overlooking this issue and today people are struggling for drinking water too.”
Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said, “Our team had visited Marathwada and has noticed that this region is reeling under severe drought. The rising number of farmer suicides is definitely a cause of concern for all of us. The government must definitely come forward to provide relief to drought hit farmers.”
BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said, “The drought has happened due to climatic changes as Marathwada has been witnessing water scarcity since last four years. There has been a sharp decline in the crop production in this region. The BJP government has taken several steps to rehabilitate farmers affected by drought. We had started the jal shivar scheme for enhancing irrigation.”
Around 3,228 farmers had committed suicide in Maharashtra in 2015 the highest since 2001. Even though the state government had announced several schemes for providing relief to distressed farmers but many of them are yet to receive any financial assistance. Most of the schemes remain restricted only on paper as no progress is visible at the grassroots level.