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Farmer-the most endangered species

Nine Maharashtra farmers commit suicide in a day

Posted by Ramoo on March 11, 2007…

Yavatmal (Maharashtra), India, 2007-03-09 23:31:16

Noise of official compassion notwithstanding, nine debt-ridden farmers ended their lives in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region on a single day Thursday.

Meanwhile, top officers of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) arrived to ascertain claims and counter-claims on the suicides as 28 farmers took their lives in the first nine days of this month.

Among the nine distressed farmers was 27-year-old Shravan Chicholkar of village Kopa Mandavi of this district, who left behind his 23-year-old widow and a four-month-old child. Vithoba Thakre of Salod and Bandu Rathod of Tandoli are the two other young farmers from this suicide-prone district who ended their lives the same day by consuming poison.

Five other farmers who committed suicide also hailed from western Vidarbha – three from Buldana and one each from Washim and Amravati district. One farmer who killed himself was from the paddy growing Gondia district of eastern Vidarbha, Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti chief Kishor Tiwari said.

The nine suicides come on the heels of seven tragedies occurring in the preceding two days. With the 12 farmers who committed suicide in the first six days of March, the month’s suicide toll till date stands at 28. The region’s toll in the first two months of 2007 is 70 and 88 respectively.

The suicides took place at a time when top IB officers dashed to the state secretariat in Mumbai and then to the distressed region at the behest of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for a first hand investigation into the matter.

The officers’ visit was occasioned by an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on behalf of the state government, which stated that funds committed by the central government as a part of the prime minister’s relief package were not forthcoming.

Reportedly queried by the PMO about the affidavit, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh apologised for the statement therein and blamed the bureaucrats for its ‘wrong wording’.

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