Seven debt-ridden farmers, including three women, on Tuesday, sought administrative “clearance” to commit suicide, in Wardha district of Maharashtra. The crisis-struck farmers submitted a memorandum a week ago, to the tehsildar ( government revenue department officer), seeking permission for committing suicide, after their patience had been severely tested by state officials on account of delay in the compensation due to them for crop loss.
Surprisingly, the victimised farmers also received an official acknowledgement from district officials, and a copy of their memorandum was also submitted in the collector’s office, making them recipients of another acknowledgement.
Commenting on the farmers’ plight in the region, Kishore Tiwari, president of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, said, “The situation has become so bad that these seven peasants have approached the district officials requesting their green signal to end their lives”, adding, “For over six months, the money remains locked up in bank accounts as the district authorities are not clearing the disbursal. This is now forcing the farmers to write letters and ask for ‘clearance’ before committing suicide”.
According to official norms, the farmers are supposed to receive a compensation of Rs 4000 per head for crop loss suffered due to hailstorms, floods and droughts last year. However, the government apathy is such that these farmers, since January, have been running pillar to post, in order to get their due.
Unable to avail of what the Maharashtra government had promised the tragedy-struck farmers, Kishore Ingale, Bhanudas Wadadkar, Pankaj Gawande, Shankar Khadse, and the women farmers, Kundabai Lonkar, Kamala Warhade and Vasanta Gingavkar, had written several letters to district officials before submitting the memorandum, asking for the green signal to commit suicide.
The current dry spell in the state has destroyed 70% of sown crop till date, while claiming 23 lives in the past 12 days. The deceased include seven from Yavatmal, five from Amravati, four from Wardha, two each from Akola and Buldhana, one each from Bhandara, Chandrapur and Washim districts. The dry spells and subsequent crop damage will further push farmers of the region in deeper debt tarps.