The unabated agrarian crisis in Vidarbha’s killing fields has claimed five more distressed farmers in the two days Monday and Tuesday. Reports reaching Nagpur on Tuesday evening said that among the latest victims two hail from Yavatmal (Goverdhan Wankhede, 52, of Khateshwar village, and Punaji Dhurve, 26, Zhuli village) and one each from Buldhana (Vitthal Maruti Hage, 37, Wankhed village), Akola (Ganesh Tathed, 38 of Sataragaon) and Amravati (Prakash Wankhede, 45, Dapori village). These farmers were under the great stress, as they could not repay loans borrowed from banks and private moneylenders this season due to crop failure.
Well-known agro-economist Srinivas Khandewale said that it was a shame on part of the government that they could not stem the farmers’ suicide despite three relief packages, including one of prime minister. “There is a need for counseling of distressed farmers and provide food security to them to prevent such tragedies,” he insisted. Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, apprehended that if the government fails to provide food security to farmers this year, more farmers would be driven to end life. “Vidarbha region has virtually turned into a killing field for farmers. The government should realize the ground reality and act promptly,” Tiwari urged. Tiwari also demanded that all the distressed farmers of suicide-prone district of the region should be treated as BPL families so that they can get the food grain benefit from the government under public distribution system.
The former Shetkari Sanghatana leader Vijay Jawandhia said that the situation could only be prevented if the farmers get remunerative price for their produces. “The government should hike the guarantee price of raw cotton in coming season in view of the prevailing situation,” he said. Sanjay Deshmukh, the district collector of Yavatmal, was not available for comments. With the death of these five farmers, the toll has risen to 37 this month while the figure was 43 in March.