Indian Agrarian Crisis now moved to

Farmer-the most endangered species

Ahmednagar too is farmer’s death zone

Posted by Ramoo on February 15, 2007…

PUNE/AHMEDNAGAR: Marathwada and Vidarbha are not the only places in the state plagued by farmer suicides. A new study, involving four years of research, reveals prevalence of such cases in Ahmednagar district too – all pointing to a saga of unattended problems.
The study by Ashok Vikhe-Patil, pro-vice chancellor of Pravara rural university, Loni, was based on 428 patients, who were admitted to Pravara rural hospital over a four-year period (2003-06) and diagnosed with poisoning.
Fifty-two of these patients – 12.14% – died. “I recently met Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar and apprised him of the tragic, yet neglected, situation in the district,”Ashok, son of veteran Congress leader Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil, told TOI.
“While farmer deaths have shown an increasing trend in Ahmednagar district, it has neither drawn the attention of the media nor policy makers.”
The study, conducted to understand the nature and magnitude of the problem, will be published by the American Journal of Rural Medicine.
The study shows that the average annual cases of poisoning increased from 47 during 1995-97 to 107 during 2003-06.
“This is a phenomenal increase, and it cannot be taken lightly,”Ashok said. The increased cases, he said, should be seen in the light of the alarming trend of farmer suicides at other places.
Also, there might have been many minor cases of suicide attempts that were treated at primary health centres and other set-ups, and not included in the study.
Sex-wise distribution of cases showed that over two-thirds of the patients (65%) were males, with the male to female ratio being 1:0.54.
It also revealed that 48% of the poisoning cases were reported during the harvesting (March-April) and sowing (June-August) seasons.
“This is the period in which the farmer undergoes tremendous stress, expecting good results for the hard work and investment he has put in,”Ashok said.
Age-wise distribution of the cases revealed that 320 patients (75%) were aged below 35. An alarming finding was that 174 patients (41%) were aged below 25.
While among male patients the highest number (37%) was from the 25-30 age group, among females the most (78 cases or 52%) were in the 15-25 age group.
The average age of male patients was 33 years. For female patients, it was 25.8 years.

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