`` Farmers are committing suicide at an alarming rate because relief is not reaching them,``
Nagpur: Santosh Vithal Dhote of Panchagawan village in Yavatmal district who killed himself on Tuesday was 852nd victim since June last year of the suicide spree sweeping Vidarbha region`s cotton belt. Around the same time he took the ultimate step to end his miserable life, Maharashtra governor S M Krishna was holding a high-level meeting in far-away Mumbai to review implementation of farmers` relief packages.
Reports reaching from various districts said eight more farmers had committed suicide in the last three days taking the toll to 244 since July 1, when prime minister Manmohan Singh announced a special relief package, according to Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, a pressure group that is maintaining a suicides register. `` Farmers are committing suicide at an alarming rate because relief is not reaching them,`` said Samiti president Kishore Tiwari.
``Glaring differences in perception of how the farm crisis is viewed in official quarters have once again come to the fore
``Glaring differences in perception of how the farm crisis is viewed in official quarters have once again come to the fore,`` said Tiwari talking to TNN on Thursday. At the meeting with planning commission members and senior state officer dealing with the situation, the governor said the plight of Vidarbha farmers was a matter of grave national concern. The Prime Minister himself during his Vidarbha visit has said the crisis was a spin-off of growing rural distress and farmers indebtedness. He even referred to the crisis while addressing the nation from ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15.
``But starkly in contrast, Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh as well as his senior cabinet colleagues seem to have a different view,`` remarked Tiwari. In his recent visit here the CM had said : ``it is difficult to say that farmers were dying because of indebtedness alone. There are several causes, including social evils like drinking, family discords, illness that could be driving them to take a drastic measure like suicide.``
chairman of National Commission of Farmers, have recommended higher procurement price for cotton
State revenue minister Narayan Rane echoed the same view here on Tuesday . While experts including father of green revolution M S Swaminathan, who is also chairman of National Commission of Farmers, have recommended higher procurement price for cotton, the state is totally opposed to it. ``The year we paid the highest price (of around Rs 2300 per quintal), farmers suicide were at a new high,`` Deshmukh as well as Rane have pointed out. But on Tuesday, the governor endorsed the need to have a price stabilisation insulate the farmer assuggested by Swaminathan. This year again the price has been fixed at Rs 1960 but activists like Tiwari say it should be hiked to Rs 2500 and only that could bring direct relief to farmers and stop the spate of suicides.