Aurangabad: Several state government’s interventions to curb farmer suicides in Marathwada have not yielded desired results. Almost four of the eight districts in Marathwada have reported two-fold rise in farmer suicides this year compared with last year.
A total of 392 cases of farmer suicides have been registered from eight districts of the parched Marathwada till May 7. During the corresponding period last year, the region registered nearly 300 cases till May 10. The number of farmer suicides have gone up by around 92 this year.
While Jalna has recorded three-fold rise in farmers suicide this year, the number of farmers ending lives has increased by doubled in Latur (51), Parbhani (33) and Hingoli (25) districts. The incidents of farmers suicide have shown slight increase in Nanded (59) and Osmanabad (52), while it has surged considerably in Aurangabad district (63). Beed is the only district, where number of farmers suicides, has come down from 83 last year to 66 this year.
Aurangabad divisional commissioner Umakant Dangat said the region has been witnessing deficient monsoon seasons for last couple of years and the distressed conditions of farmers were reaching to its peak now.
“Despite government intervention on different fronts, there is a rise in cases of farmers suicide this year. We perceive the current period as the last phase of ongoing adverse conditions, during which farmers are likely to be in further distress. Efforts are on a war-footing to offer all possible help to farmers,” he said.
Referring to statistics of Osmanabad district, where incidents of farmers suicides have remained stagnant, Dangat said the district saw additional government intervention in the form of pilot programme aimed at reducing farmers death in identified districts.
The pilot programme saw slew of measures being implemented for the benefit of farmers such as group-farming, mechanisation of agriculture and offering side-business to farmers. The government has been considering scaling up this pilot programme to other districts, he said.
Setting up of fodder camps in adequate number could be one of the reasons behind drop in farmers suicide in Beed district, authorities said. As per official statistics, Beed district has highest number of fodder camps among the three districts where such alternate arrangements for livestock has been made.
Beed district alone has over 270 fodder camps functional, where nearly 2.69 lakh large cattle and 20,392 calves have taken shelter. A total of 362 fodder camps are being run in the three water scarcity-hit Beed, Latur and Osmanabad districts of Marathwada, giving shelter to around 3.8 lakh cattle, recent official data shows.
Shrikant Umrikar, spokesperson of farmers group Shetkari Sanghatna, said government policies were equally responsible for death of farmers as that of vagaries of nature. “Most of farmers have been embracing death due to mounting debts ranging not more than a few lakhs. A simple measure in the form of reconstitution of farmers loan could have offered desired relief to farmers but the government is unwilling to implement it in letter and spirit. Even we are not asking for loan waiver as such,” he said.