As many as 28 district farmers ended their lives in a week at drought-hit Marathwada. By Monday evening, the divisional commissionerate at Aurangabad had registered 50 suicides in first two weeks of the month.
Beed district has registered the highest suicide of farmers at 41 since January this year.
In first two weeks of this month, 50 farmers committed suicide in Marathwada, taking the collective toll this year to 244 suicides. Last year, 1,130 farmers had ended their lives, officials said.
Beed district collector Naval Kishore Ram on Monday however told Indian Express that the number farmer suicides have reduced drastically compared to March end last year. “By March end last year, more than 70 farmers had ended their lives. This year so far, we have seen 40-50 per cent reduction in farmer suicides,” he claimed. Aurangabad stands second with 38 suicides while Latur is at third with 33 suicides.
The Beed collector attributed the reduction in farmer suicide figure to the administration’s collective effort to reach out to the farmers. “The administration has reached out to the farmers with various state government schemes which has helped in weaning them away from taking the extreme step,” he said.
Ram said the district administration has distributed as many as Rs 375 crore by way of crop insurance scheme to farmers for loss suffered in 2014-2015. “This is as per our information the highest figure of national crop insurance scheme distributed to farmers in any district. The farmers two years ago were not even aware of the scheme, but we have made them aware of the insurance scheme,” he said.
He added that a medical camp for farmers suffering from critical illness was held in Beed a few months ago which helped in understanding the problems of the farmers. “Nearly 1.50 lakh farmers benefitted from this camp,” he said.
“We have been working on the mental state of the distressed farmers. Due to lack of rain, mounting loan and crop failure, the farmers have been hard-pressed for survival and this has affected their lives badly which forces them to end their lives as they cannot fulfill expectations of their families,” he said.
Officials at Aurangabad divisional commissionerate said 88 families of farmers have been paid compensation amount of Rs one lakh each which is given in case of a suicide because of loan, crop failure or harassment by banks. Though the state government last week said all the compensation amount would be paid without conducting an inquiry, officials at the divisional commissionerate said they haven’t yet received the government resolution and therefore in 56 cases, the compensation amount has not been paid.