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Posted at: Mar 31, 2018, 7:07 PM; last updated: Mar 31, 2018, 7:59 PM (IST)

Despite loan waiver, farmers continue to commit suicide in Maharashtra

Despite loan waiver, farmers continue to commit suicide in Maharashtra
Data available for the whole of Maharashtra indicates that 435 farmers committed suicide in January and February this year as against 414 cases of suicides in the same period last year. File photo

Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service
Mumbai, March 31

Despite the Maharashtra government waiving crop loans taken by farmers the number of agriculturists committing suicide in the state continue to rise, according to official data.

According to the Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavlamban Mission (VNSSM), a state government initiative to combat agrarian distress, 221 farmers committed suicide between January and mid-March in Marathwada alone. The first two weeks of March saw 66 farmers taking their lives in the crisis-prone region, according to data put out by Kishor Tiwari, Chairman, VNSSM.

Data available for the whole of Maharashtra indicates that 435 farmers committed suicide in January and February this year as against 414 cases of suicides in the same period last year.

The increased number of suicides in the month of March comes after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced compensation for cotton farmers who lost their crops to the pink bollworm attacks.

Opposition leaders say the Maharashtra government has failed to ensure that farm loans are actually waived.

"Not more than Rs 12,000 crore worth of farm loans have actually been waived even though the loan waiver amounts to Rs 34,020 crore," Dhananjay Munde, Leader of the Opposition in the state legislative council, said.

Munde added that nationalised banks and district co-operative banks were continuing to levy interests that had to be waived by the government, thus adding to the distress of the farmers. He added that financial institutions were not extending new loans to farmers, as many of who could not sow winter crops as a result.

According to Kishor Tiwari of the VNSSM, the state government has so far failed to ensure that farmers are paid the fair and remunerative price for cotton and toor despite policy announcements to that effect.

 

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