Nagpur, Nov 11 (IANS) As Prithviraj Chavan completed two years as Maharashtra chief minister, the number of farmer suicides this year rose to 624 with three more distressed peasants ending their lives Sunday, an activist said here.
"Despite Dhanteras and the upcoming Diwali, and Prithviraj Chavan completing two years in office today (Sunday), the gloom and despair persists among the debt-trapped farmers of the Vidarbha region. Three more such farmers have chosen to end their lives," Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti chief Kishore Tiwari told IANS.
The victims are Mangesh More of Virud village in Chandrapur, Champat Shendre of Junapani village in Wardha and Vasant Rathode of Kinhala village in Yavatmal, he said.
Chavan Saturday said that among the highlights of his two years in office was securing a Rs.2,000 crore aid package for the debt-ridden farming community.
The chief reason for farmers committing suicide is the failure of the main cash crops, biotech cotton in 4.20 million hectares and soybean in 1.80 hectares due to erratic rains and pest attacks for the third consecutive year, Tiwari said.
Besides crop failures, Tiwari said the cultivation costs had almost doubled due to the hike in prices of fuel, seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and labour.
"Due to these factors, farmers have been compelled to offload their produce at virtually throwaway prices leading to heavy losses," he said.
"The government must provide an immediate bail-out, restore credit facilities, make provisions for the next cultivation season and until then arrange for food and health security to the farming community," Tiwari demanded.