As many as 273 farmers have ended their lives in the drought-hit Marathwada region — primarily due to crop failure and mounting debts — in the first three months of this year. Compared to first three months of 2015 when 214 farmers had ended lives, 59 more farmers have died in the corresponding period this year.
The Maharashtra Congress has reacted strongly to the soaring farmer suicides in Marathwada, stating that it will grill Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis during the ongoing State Assembly session on its failure to contain them.
In 2015, as many as 214 suicides of farmers were reported from the eight districts of Marathwada. In 2016, the figure has jumped to 273 suicides in the first three months of this year. The eight district include Aurangabad, Jalna, Parbhani, Hingoli, Nanded, Beed, Latur and Osmanabad. This year, Aurangabad (46 suicides), Beed (46), Nanded (38) and Latur (37) are among the top four “suicide districts.”
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Describing it as the biggest failure of the Fadnavis government, State Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said, “The state government is trying to deflect the attention of the people from its failure on a number of fronts, one of those is the unstoppable suicides of farmers, by raking up issues which have got nothing to do with the development, drought or large number of deaths of farmers. The Congress will grill the Fadnavis government during the ongoing assembly session.”
Congress said the basic reason for the inability of the government to contain the farmer suicides is improper implementation of the schemes or dumping of unwarranted schemes on the farmers.
“Grandiose plans are announced, but they are not implemented properly. Then there are those plans which are not required are forced on the farmers. In short, farmers seem to be ending life as nothing is reaching them. They continue to live in no man’s land,” Sawant said, adding the rise in suicides by farmers compared to last year reflects “how the so-called efforts and plans of the government have come a cropper.”
Kishore Tiwari, who heads the state government-appointed Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavlamban Mission and has been sent by the chief minister on a stock-taking mission in Marathwada, on Wednesday said,”I spoke to farmers in Beed today to find out the problems they are facing. I won’t say that everything is hunky dory. There are problems but massive efforts are underway from the local administration to meet the expectations of the farmers.”
Tiwari said the large number of farmers suicides are basically due to the continuous drought of past three-four years.
“The problems have accumulated over the past few years. Therefore, it will take time for the scheme that we are implementing to show results,” he said.
Tiwari said the state government has been shaken by the constantly rising of suicides by distressed farmers.
“The Chief Minister is disturbed by the suicides of farmer, the government is very much concerned about it…the government is doing all it could to put brakes to the suicide saga…,” he said.
Officials in Beed district however said last year, the figure of farmer suicides were almost double than what it is this year.
“Farmer suicides have certainly dipped in our district this year after implementation of the Food Security Act, critical health care plan and distribution of financial assistance,” said district collector Naval Kishore Ram.
“We are getting to the root of the problems faced by the farmers. We have succeeded in reducing the gap between the administration and the farmers,” Ram added.
MIM MLA Imtiaz Jaleel attributed the farmer suicides to corruption in the government schemes being implemented in the name of farmers.
“Be it fodder scheme or cattle camp, all these schemes are being implemented so that the contractors make money and from them officials benefit. If the government cares to investigate its own plans, it will come face to face about the true fate of its so-called plans and schemes meant ostensibly for the benefit of farmers,” he said.
Tiwari, however, said,”At least in Beed where I visited today, I did not find anything amiss in the way the fodder scheme or cattle camps are being run.”