Maharashtra farmers’ worst crisis: 610 suicides in 90 days

Mumbai: Maharashtra is facing one of its worst agrarian crisis as per a government report last week, which shows that 610 farmers have committed suicide in 90 days, from January 1 to March 31 — this means approximately six suicides on a daily basis. The worst hit district is Amravati which reported 227 suicides, followed by Aurangabad with 198 suicides, Nashik reported 119, Nagpur 37 and Pune 29 suicides.  “This year it has been the worst due to drought, crop failure and credit crunch. The prices of crop produce also have been impacted. In rural economy the credit crunch is being felt the most. This have created distress and depression among the farmers,” said Kishore Tiwari, chairman of the Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Swavalamban Mission, a state government agency.

The government has not geared up to face the crisis since due to the model code of conduct, government officials are still involved in poll duties. “Most of the problems now are fodder and drinking water crisis. Though the election commission which relaxed the model code of conduct, they have asked the state government not to pull out the staff from poll duty, which has impacted the drought relief programme.

The staff which is deployed on counting duty are involved in the drought relief programme,” he said. Moreover, an activist said the Chief Minister has no clue about the rural economy and that the bureaucracy too is unaccountable. Nearly 72 per cent districts in Maharashtra are reeling from water scarcity and crop failure which has impacted the socio-economic condition of people, especially farmers. The increasing drought conditions in the state has led to a severe agrarian crisis, loss of livelihood, unemployment and forced migration. The government also declared 268 revenue circles and 5,449 villages, where the crop estimate is below 50 paise, as drought-hit.

Marathwada, Vidarbha and North Maharashtra regions are the worst-hit. Also nearly half the state is reeling under the fourth drought in the last six years. Rainfall in the state was woefully inadequate last year and Marathwada and Vidarbha regions are the worst hit. Marathwada received 36 per cent less rains than normal while Aurangabad and Osmanabad districts received 47 and 42 per cent less rainfall and many talukas in this region have received 60 per cent less rainfall. Till now, the Devendra Fadnavis-led government declared 151 talukas and 268 revenue circles as drought-hit. Meanwhile, the Union government has given Rs 7,961 crore assistance including Rs 7,103 crore to farmers whose crops have been damaged, Rs 535 crore for fodder supply and Rs 325 crore for water supply.

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