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Six farmers in Maharashtra end lives as rain destroys crops

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on November 04, 2019 Published on November 04, 2019

A farmer checks his crop which was flattened by strong winds and rain in Maharashtra (File photo)   -  The Hindu/ S Sudarshan

Six farmer suicides were reported in Marathwada and the north Maharashtra region following massive crop destruction in unseasonal rains.

According to the State government’s preliminary estimates, crops on over 54 lakh hectares have been damaged in unseasonal rains. Drought-hit Aurangabad division has suffered massively with crop damage on 22 lakh hectares. The final figure might be much higher than the estimates.

Crop destruction

According to media reports, three farmers from Marathwada – Ramesh Shelke (55), Raosaheb Biradar-Patil (30) and Maroti Bhosale (45) – ended their lives after their crops were destroyed. In Jalgoan, Remsingh Barela ( 60) and Ananda Patil (40) ended their lives, while in Ahmednagar district, young farmer Bharat Gadde (24) committed suicide.

“The situation is alarming. Farmers are pushed to the brink and all efforts should be made to help them tide over the situation. Kharif sowing was delayed in drought-hit Marathwada and parts of Vidarbha. All that crops have been destroyed. Now, there is uncertainty over the rabi crop sowing due to unseasonal rains,” said agriculture expert Nishikant Bhalerao, adding that the political leadership should provide concrete help to farmers, instead of visiting affected areas with cameras.

Rising tide

Bhalerao expressed the fear that the number of farmer suicides might rise in the next few days.

In the last five years (2014-18), 14,034 farmers (that’s eight a day) ended their lives in Maharashtra. Sahebrao Karpe, a farmer from drought-prone Yavatmal district, committed suicide along with his wife and four children on March 19, 1986. A suicide note he left behind said, “ It is impossible to survive as a farmer.”

It was the first documented farmer suicide in the State. Since then Maharashtra has been among the top States when it comes to farmer suicides.

“Nothing has changed in last three decades. In fact, the situation is deteriorating. There are few options for farmers, who are oppressed by drought, flood, red-tapism and moneylenders,” said Baba Savat, a farmer.

Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader Raju Shetti said the Centre and the State government are delaying actual help. He said farmers are under heavy debt and have no capacity to repay loans.

During his visits to affected areas, Sharad Pawar said that farmers opt to end their lives because it becomes unbearable for them to witness the destruction of their crops. “If one member of the family commits suicide the entire generation is destroyed. I request farmers not to lose patience. Whatever it is, don’t leave the field (of life)” Pawar told farmers.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray told farmers in Aurangabad that not a single farmer should commit suicide. He promised that the government would provide all possible help to them.

Published on November 04, 2019
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