Mumbai: Four days before Maharashtra goes to the polls, the state’s revenue department has revealed that the number of farmers’ suicides doubled during the present BJP-Shiv Sena regime in the state. The report says that from 2014 until February this year, 14,456 farmers across Maharashtra had committed suicide.
These shocking numbers, have left the saffron alliance red-faced, as it has been bragging about its performance at its poll campaigns.
This information was obtained in response to a Right To Information (RTI) query filed by activist Shakeel Ahmed Shaikh, seeking information on the number of farmers’ deaths in Maharashtra from 2013 until now. The response received from the revenue and forest department reveals that over 154,000 farmers have committed suicide from 2013 till February 2019.
The report states, “A total of 1,296 farmers committed suicide in 2013, followed by 2,039 suicides reported in 2014. In 2015, 3,263 farmer suicides were reported, while the following year, a total of 3,080 such cases occurred. In 2017 and 2018, the number of suicides were 2,917 and 2,761 respectively,” the response of the revenue officials states. In the first two months of 2019 alone, reportedly, 396 farmers took their own lives.
As far as loan waivers to the kin of these farmers are concerned, the report claims that from 2013 to 2018, only 8,868 families have benefited from the government scheme, while 5,713 such families were found ‘ineligible’.
Accordingly, the opposition has used the numbers to corner Devendra Fadnavis-led government. The Congress has also accused the saffron alliance for under-reporting suicide cases.
“The government has under-reported the instances. I can say that there are more such cases than the ones made public. They have not brought on record the deaths of those farmers whose names were not mentioned in the 7/12 documents,” claimed Atul Londhe, Congress spokesperson.
“This government has failed miserably in improving the conditions of the farmers. It has failed to implement the Swaminathan Commission’s report and has only neglected farmers, leading to the present crisis,” Londhe alleged.
Londhe further said, the government had introduced the Goods and Service Tax and demonetisation in the most incorrect manner, causing a huge and adverse impact on businesses.
“In fact, the most unfortunate part is that in the last 70 years, farmers have not resorted to strikes the way we have been seeing for the last five years. Saffron parties are only using Lord Ram’s name to gain votes, but in reality, they are not following in his footsteps,” Londhe said.
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena, having been made aware of these numbers, has claimed it would ‘continue to put pressure on the CM’ to ensure farmers were not compelled to kill themselves.
“We are dedicated to farmers. That is the reason we have been mounting pressure on the CM right from Day One and will continue to do so in order to ensure that the farmers get their rights,” said Priyanka Chaturvedi, the Sena spokesperson.
“In fact, we do not seek only karz maafi (loan waiver) for the farmers. We want them to be karz-mukt (free of loans) and for this, we are going to ensure that even in the future, the government will work for the betterment of farmers,” Chaturvedi claimed.