FOR THE second consecutive year, suicides by farmers have crossed the staggering 1,000 mark in Marathwada region of Maharashtra in less than 12 months. In 2015, the collective figure of farmer suicides in the 12-month period stood at 1,130.
According to officials at the Aurangabad Divisional Commissionerate, which keeps a track of suicides in eight districts of Marathwada, from January 1 to December 12 this year, 1,003 farmer suicides have been recorded.
Osmanabad, which was picked as ‘zero suicide district’ in August 2015 by the state government has witnessed over 200 suicides in last 16 months.
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Beed, from where Maharashtra minister Pankaja Munde, one of the aspirants for chief ministership post hails, for the second consecutive year, recorded the highest suicides at 214. Compared to last year, when by December end the suicide figure crossed 300 mark, the figure this time so far is much less, said Beed officials.
After Beed, Nanded comes second with 170 farmer suicides, followed by Osmanabad at 153, Aurangabad at 145 and Latur 108. Other districts such as Jalna, Parbhani, Hingoli, have recorded less than 100 suicides.
Of the 1,000 suicides, the families of 661 farmers who ended their lives have been paid Rs 1 lakh compensation each.
Beed District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said farm distress was not the only reason responsible for farmer suicides. “Investigations have revealed that there are other causes like domestic issues for farmer suicides. But whatever may be the cause, every suicide of a farmer is worrisome for us. We are making efforts to bring down the suicide rate. Compared to 2015, the suicides this year in Beed are certainly down by more than 30 per cent,” he said.
In April this year, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had told The Indian Express that the government has put in several plans in place to reduce the farmer suicides and the efforts will take time to show results. However, the Congress has accused the state government of implementing the plans only on paper.
Former CM Prithviraj Chavan said, “Compared to our tenure, the Fadnavis rule has seen maximum farmer suicides, which clearly shows failure on part of the government. They only talk, but do little on the ground.”