IN just one week, Marathwada has seen as many as 36 farmers committing suicides. The figure of suicides is highest for one week in the last four-and-a-half months. The total figure of suicides, as on Monday, has been put at 454 — almost hundred more than last year in the corresponding period.
Officials said every week, 20 to 30 farmers’ suicides — mainly due to mounting debts and crop failure — are registered. “But this week, the figure has gone up by a big margin,” an official said. On May 16, the figure of farmer suicides stood at 418, which reached 454 by May 23, officials said. With this, the collective total in last 16 and half months has reached 1,548.
Figures released by the Aurangabad divisional commissionerate on Monday revealed that of the eight districts comprising Marathwada, Beed district has recorded the highest number of 81 suicides in last four and half months. However, officials claimed the figure is much lower than compared to the corresponding period last year.
Nanded district with 70 cases claims second spot while Osmanabad, where the state government is trying to implement its “zero-suicide” plan, has witnessed 59 cases. Latur, which is facing its worst water crisis, has seen 61 suicides. Other districts like Jalna had 47 suicides, Parbhani 43 and Hingoli 27 suicides. Aurangabad has registered 67 suicides.
When contacted, Nanded District Collector Prashant Narnaware said the figures could have been bigger, but because of the fact that the government has initiated a number of steps, the suicides have remained down. “The distress level is too high. There are too many factors responsible for it. However, due to government intervention, the figure of suicides has so far has remained down,” he said.
Beed District Collector Nandkishore Ram too said the severity of drought is very high. “Despite this, the farmer suicides compared to last year is less. Last year, we had over 100 suicides during the corresponding period. But this year, we have 81 suicides so far. Therefore, given the worsening drought situation, the figure of suicides is down,” he said.