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22 farmer suicides in 3 weeks: outcome of crop failure in Vidarbha/ Marathawada


Hailstorms led to 9 deaths in 3 days!

Hailstorms led to 9 deaths in 3 days!

The Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, a farmers’ advocacy group, has said in a report that 22 farmers have ended their lives in the Vidarbha and Marathawada regions, in the past three weeks. Nine of these deaths took place in just the past three days, after a prolonged and unusual hailstorm destroyed acres of crops, the group says. The Maharashtra government has not confirmed these grim statistics, but has asked for Rs. 5,000 crore from the Centre.
Jolted by reports of 22 farmer suicides in three weeks driven by massive crop failure, the Maharashtra government today appealed to farmers “not to take emotional steps” and wait for relief measures. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today said his government was aware of the scale of destruction across the state, and assured full support to farmers devastated by crop damage. Mr Chavan also said he had spoken to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Election Commission, amid questions about whether a relief package just ahead of the national election would be considered a violation of the code of conduct.
The election code of conduct bans parties from making any announcement that can influence voters. Activists say the process of receiving any relief involves a report from the state government, followed by a spot assessment by a central team before any money is sanctioned. It is too long, they say, and even this amount may not be enough to compensate for the loss of crop spread over at least 16 lakh hectares. Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region is often described as ‘suicide country’ with reports of a farmer suicide every eight hours even till two years ago.

Ahead of next month’s general election, the tragic deaths have fueled a political blame-game. The opposition Shiv Sena has alleged that the Congress and NCP, which co-govern Maharashtra and are allies at the Centre, are using the election code of conduct as an excuse for inaction. “I blame the system. Should we talk of rules when people are dying?” said the Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut.

[courtesy: NDTV]

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