Vidarbha Farmers Demand PM's Intervention in Agrarian Crisis-Deccan Herald
Mumbai, may 20, 2012, DHNSA cotton farmers' association from eastern Maharashtra has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take cognisance of the agrarian crisis that has turned the "white gold belt" Vidarbha into a "land of death", where the number of farmers committing suicides is going up everyday.
After much haranguing and heavy barrage of news reports highlighting water-scarcity in western Maharashtra, the Centre released Rs 700 crore relief aid earlier this month for several districts, considered to be a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) turf.
The Centre's move to aid western Maharashtra has sparked anger in the Vidarbha region which has been witnessing farmers suicides for the past several years due to interplay of various factors.
Speaking to Deccan Herald over the phone from Nagpur, Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti's Kishore Tiwari said: "On Saturday, a newspaper owned by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar's family reported that over 300 farmers have committed suicide in western Vidarbha's six districts.
It is not our statistics. The newspaper quoted government figures. Then why is it that no relief package is earmarked for this region?"
"We have sent a copy of the news report and the government figures to the prime minister requesting him to look into the matter immediately, and save the lives of farmers."
As per the government statistics, in the last six years, the number of farmer suicides is 8,520. According to newspaper reports which quote officials, 300 farmers have resorted to suicide from January to May 20 this year.
"Incidentally, this figure of 300 does not include the five districts of eastern Vidarbha," Kishore Tiwari said.