A report of National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB) and quoted by Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS) has ripped apart the roof top claims of State Government and corridors of power (political leaders) that have been spreading a lie to the contrary. The Bureau has called “all is well” propaganda of Maharashtra leaders a bluff. According to the report, mind-blowing 60,768 farmers have committed suicides since 1995, the fact NCRB says is matter of shame for Maharashtra Government.
Progressive State of Maharashtra, an economic power and rich in culture, has put itself on the map of India, albeit, with dubious distinction. And for different reason. Maharashtra has again topped the list of farmers’ suicides that were reported in the country in 2013. A report of National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB) and quoted by Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS) has ripped apart the roof top claims of State Government and corridors of power (political leaders) that have been spreading a lie to the contrary. The Bureau has called “all is well” propaganda of Maharashtra leaders a bluff.
In fact, the NCRB report has termed Maharashtra as “Graveyard of Farmers.” The facts and figures, too, sharply point out the grave situation. According to the report, mind-blowing 60,768 farmers have committed suicides since 1995, the fact NCRB says is matter of shame for Maharashtra Government, particularly the present alliance which is ruling the State for the past 15 years. The phenomenon that the year 2013 witnessed 3,146 farmers ending their lives tells the deathly tale in sum and exposes Maharashtra Government’s earlier claim that the rate of farm suicides in 2013 has come down to 50 percent as untrue and misleading.,
“This is not homicide. It is genocide done by the wrong policies and ill-management of national disaster. We need Central intervention,” said Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS), farm activist group doing advocacy for cotton farmers and documenting the Vidarbha farmers’ suicides since 1995.
“The farm distress, particularly in cotton growing areas of Maharashtra, continues to haunt the country as State of Maharashtra has topped the list of farm suicides in 2013 with 3,146 farmers ending their lives. More than 60,000 farmers have committed suicides in Maharashtra since 1995 according to official data. No other State comes close to that total. This means that of the roughly 3 lakh farmers who killed themselves across the country in that period, almost every fifth one was from Maharashtra. These dismal findings reflect complete neglect of Vidarbha and Marathwada cotton growing regions from where maximum farmers’ suicides are being reported,” the report of NCRB said.
Analyzing the main reasons behind the ongoing distress in cotton farming community, dozens of expert panels have blamed rain-fed farming, low yields, unpredicted rainfall and prolonged draught and recurring crop failure, increase in cost of inputs & cultivation practices, dependency only on one crop – Cotton — monoculture, poor extension system & awareness about agronomic practices, lack of farm credit availability & dependency on money lenders, poor pricing of farmer’s produce created imbalance between input/output costs but failure to address the crisis, said Tiwari quoting the report.
“Vidarbha is only region which has critical and focused data on farm distress. After the High Court order in 2006 on a PIL filed by VJAS, Maharashtra Government held the largest-ever door-to-door survey of cotton farmers in the region and it found that of the 17 lakh plus families covered, more than a fourth — that is, more than 20 lakh people — were ‘under maximum distress.’ And more than three quarters of the rest were ‘under medium distress.’ In short, almost 90 percent farmers in West Vidarbha are in distress due to debt and crop loss or crop failure, daughters’ marriages, rising health costs but neither UPA nor Maharashtra Government took corrective steps to address the crisis. The negligence is resulting in continued farmer suicide spiral. We are repeatedly asking NDA Government to relook into the present policies for cotton farmers and address this issue to stop killing of innocent farmers,” said the VJAS leader Tiwari.
Facts and figures of NCRB report:
According to the comprehensive report, the highest incidents of 16,622 suicides were reported in Maharashtra out of which 3146 suicides were committed by farmers followed by 16,601 suicides in Tamil Nadu accounting for 12.3% each of total suicides. Andhra Pradesh (14,607 suicides), West Bengal (13,055 suicides) and Karnataka (11,266 suicides) accounted for 10.8%, 9.7% and 8.4% respectively of the total suicides reported in the country. These 5 States together accounted for 53.5% of the total suicides reported in the country. The remaining 46.5% suicides were reported in the rest of 23 States and 7 UTs. Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state (17.0% share of country population) has reported comparatively lower percentage share of suicidal deaths, accounting for only 3.9% of the total suicides reported in the country.
Similarly, according to NCRB report, 1,27,151 suicides were recorded in 2009, 1,34,599 in 2010, 1,35,585 in 2011, 1,35,445 in 2012 and 1,34,799 suicides were recorded in 2013 across India for various distressing reasons. The figures are general in nature and not pertain to farmers alone.