Mumbai/Nagpur: Figures provided by Relief and Rehabilitation department of Maharashtra government have revealed that the total number of farmers, who ended their lives last year(2015) in Maharashtra stands at 3,228.
The state government told the Bombay High Court on Thursday that as many as 1,000 farmers killed themselves in Maharashtra in 2015. However, the Relief and Rehabilitation department revealed that the total number of farmers’ suicides add up to 3,228, of which 1,841 farmers were eligible for compensation.
The state Agriculture Minister Eknath Khadse claimed that while both the figures were “correct”, what the government submitted in HC was the number of farmers, who killed themselves purely for farm-related reasons and hence are eligible for compensation.
The figures provided by the Relief and Rehabilitation department reveal that the highest number of suicides were from the Amravati division (1,179), followed by Aurangabad division (1,130). 459 farmers committed suicide in the Nashik division, 362 in Nagpur, 96 in Pune and two in Konkan division.
“Though there are a large number of farmers’ suicides, those eligible for compensation are comparatively less. For 2015, out of the total 3,228, as many as 1,842 farmers are eligible for compensation from the state government,” an official from the department said.
Khadse said that the figures submitted to the Bombay HC are true and those were the total number of farmers, who had committed suicide for farm-related reasons.
“Both the figures (those submitted to the Bombay HC and that from the Relief and Rehabilitation department) are correct. A farmer can commit suicide for various reasons. What we have stated to the HC is the total number of farmers, who, according to the criteria of the government, have committed suicide for farm-related reasons,” Khadse told PTI.
“The criteria were not made by us, but made in the last few years with help of various organisations. The number of farmers who have committed suicide above from what we have stated to the HC, are those who do not fit into our criteria,” he added.
Criteria to be eligible for compensation from the government include but not limited to a farmer having taken debt from either from a bank or from an authorized private moneylender.