Indian Agrarian Crisis now moved to www.agrariancrisis.in

Farmer-the most endangered species

Farmers suicides cross 100 mark

Posted by Ramoo on February 12, 2007

http://www.indiaprwire.com/businessnews/20070211/1…

The number of suicides by debt-ridden farmers in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region has crossed the three-digit mark in the first 40 days of 2007 with 15 deaths reported during the last three days, including six Saturday.

The number of suicides by debt-ridden farmers in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region has crossed the three-digit mark in the first 40 days of 2007 with 15 deaths reported during the last three days, including six Saturday.

While most of the 106 suicides have taken place in the six dry-land farming districts of Yavatmal, Amravati, Akola, Buldana, Washim and Wardha in western Vidarbha , one farmer in the rain-fed paddy growing Gondia district in eastern Vidarbha too ended his life Saturday.

The unabated incidence of suicides are significant in the backdrop of the recent revelation by state Finance Minister Jayant Patil that the central government has disbursed only a fraction – Rs.24.8 billion – of the promised Rs.294.1 billion in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s relief package of July 2006.

The promised Rs.294.1 billion is a part of the total package of Rs.375 billion meant exclusively for completing the pending irrigation projects in western Vidarbha, which will cover an additional 0.15 million hectares of the total 3.5 million hectares of cultivable area. Currently, the area under irrigation is 0.45 million hectares.

Almost 98 percent of more than 1,200 suicides in the last 20 months have occurred in the dry-land farming area in the region 93 percent of which will remain unirrigated even after completion of all the ongoing projects with the support of the prime minister’s relief fund.

According to Amravati divisional commissioner S.K. Goyal, monetary provision for micro-watershed development that provides an answer to the agrarian crisis is far too inadquate.

‘The farm distress is bound to continue as long as the general approach to agricultural management remains flawed’, he says.

‘Low priority to in-situ water conservation and mindless application of the green revolution formula of cost intensive farming in unirrigated areas are the hallmarks of the disastrous approach to agriculture’, Goyal, who has worked as Maharashtra’s agriculture commissioner, added.

Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti president Kishor Tiwari, who has been spearheading the farmers’ movement in the region, says loan waiver and subsidy for food crop farming should be given priority.

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