One more farmer kills self in Vidarbha
[ 15 Feb, 2007 2134hrs ISTINDIATIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
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THE LAST RESORT: Suicide of Manoj Lamture, a farmer, has sparked spontaneous protest in Vidarbha (TOI Photo)
MUMBAI: As the union agriculture secretary Dr PK Misra was reviewing progress of the Prime Minister package for the Vidarbha cotton farmer, one more farmer, Manoj Lamture (22) ended is life on Wednesday, sparking spontaneous protest in the region.
Kishor Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti said, "Such protests have become common as 3-4 farmers commit suicides on a daily basis." He is aghast at the apathy of the system where nobody in the government or the Opposition is even ready to look at the poverty-stricken Vidarbha farmers.
The deceased farmer, Manoj Lamture, was depressed with continuous crop failure and a huge debt in the name of his father as well as a very high cost of the medical care of his mother. He is the third victim of Vidarbha agrarian crisis in the Bhadumri village. Last year, two other young farmers Dhyaneshwar Bhandare and Anil Shende had committed suicide.
In the last 45 days the region has seen 110 suicides. Last year, reportedly more than 1400 farmer committed suicides, informed Tiwari.
Till 2005 the region had seen no suicides. And the farmers were faring well. They were solely dependent on the government purchase of their yield. In 2005, the state government made purchases to the tune of Rs 2.5 crore from farmers. But, in 2006 it withdrew its price and then stopped buying crops from them.
Following the mass scale suicide, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a package of Rs 3750 crore but, till date it has not seen the light of the day. On the contrary, the government is now reviewing the package.
Tiwari said the cotton growers of Vidarbha are a victim of soil degradation which was a result of the high amount of chemical fertilisers they used for their produce. "The farmers were innocent and they were made to use such high amounts of fertiliser to grow their crop that now the soil is damaged."
Tiwari says that the farmers now want the government to help them do food-grain farming.
"The distress level is so high in the region. We are agitating so that farmers in Andhra and Karnataka do not commit suicide and our agriculturists stop resorting to suicides," says Tiwari.
Dr Sudhir Kumar Goel, divisional commissioner, relief, Amravati said that immediate relief had been given to farmers where interest worth Rs 782 cores had been waived off. But the entire loan cannot be waived. "Subsidies are given. But no government on earth can give subsidy to 60% of its farmers."
The Vidarbha farmers have been given fresh loans, which Dr Goel said was three times more than in the past.