A record 120 debt-ridden farmers are reported to have committed suicide in November in the drought-hit Vidarbha and Marathwada regions of Maharashtra, an activist said on Monday.
“While at least 65 farmers ended their lives in Marathwada, another 55 took the extreme step in Vidarbha region,” said Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti president Kishore Tiwari.
In the past 24 hours alone, around two dozen farm folk have committed suicide, according to available figures, claimed Tiwari.
He added that the current agrarian crisis has so gripped farmers that average of four distressed farmers are now killing themselves daily, breaking all past records.
He said a VJAS delegation would visit New Delhi Tuesday and attempt to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apprise him of the grim situation in the agrarian sector of the state.
The maximum deaths have been reported of farmers cultivating cotton and soyabean besides other cash crops and fruits – raised in over five million hectares – which have been destroyed in the drought, he added.
Tiwari lamented that despite all efforts, the state and central governments have turned a blind eye to the farmers’ plight, leaving them with no options but end their lives.
“We have estimated losses worth around Rs. 60,000 crore due to the drought, but the state government has demanded only Rs. 4,000 crore central relief – how will this suffice?” he asked in a reference to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ statement last week.
VJAS secretary Mohan Jadhav added that till date this year the farmers suicide figures have crossed 1,000 in Vidarbha and 1,200 in Marathwada.
“In order to provide immediate relief, the state must seek Rs. 20,000 crore central aid for crop losses, another Rs. 20,000 crore to tackle the serious drought conditions and Rs. 20,000 crore to waive off farm debts,” Jadhav demanded.
Tiwari reiterated the long-pending demands for total farm loans waiver, food and health security for the farm folk, education and other social aid for the farm widows and orphans.