No respite: 109 Marathwada farmers end lives amid lockdown

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on May 19, 2020 Published on May 19, 2020

6,268 farmer-suicide cases were registered in Maharashtra from January 2011 to December 2014. This almost doubled to 11,995 in 2015-18.   -  RADHESHYAM JADHAV

It’s feared that unrelenting farm distress may take more lives post pandemic

On an average, two farmers have ended their lives everyday in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra from January to April. Of this, 109 ended their lives during the lockdown period (March-April).

According to data submitted by the Aurangabad Divisional Commissioner’s office to the State government, 231 farmers ended their lives in the four months till April. Of these, 73 committed committed suicide in March while 36 did in April. The nation has been under a lockdown since March 25.

Farmer suicide cases were recorded across all the eight districts in the region, which has a population of about 1.87 crore.

Plunging sales

“The number of suicides might rise,” said Anil Ghanwat, President of Shetkari Sanghatana, the apex body of farmers in Maharashtra. “The impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the agriculture sector will continue for at least the next couple of years and farmers will be pushed into more distress.”

“There is no market for the produce. Not even 10 per cent of farmers’ produce has been sold during the lockdown and farmers have no money for sowing and to look after their families,” he added.

According to information from the State government provided to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), 6,268 farmer-suicide cases were registered in Maharashtra from January 2011 to December 2014. This almost doubled to 11,995 in 2015-18.

Published on May 19, 2020

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