Survivors pay tribute to 4,250 farmers who committed suicide

Nagpur, Dec 31 (IANS) Over 100 widows and children Wednesday paid tributes to the 4,250 farmers in Maharashtra, including 1,110 in Vidarbha region, who committed suicide this year.

In a day of protests in Pandharkawda in Yavatmal district, the widows and children held candles and offered special prayers for the dead farmers.
Carrying placards and banners, they proclaimed 2014 as a “year of betrayal”, said Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) president Kishore Tiwari.
“All pre and post election promises made by the new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have resulted in betrayal of the farming community,” Tiwari told IANS.
“Against 3,685 Maharashtra farmers who committed suicide in 2013, the highest in the country, this year’s figure of 4,250 till Dec 31 has set a new record,” he said.
Tiwari said nothing has been done about the pre-election assurance of giving a sustainable minimum support price to farmers, and there was no sign of the much-hyped formula of investment in cultivation plus 50 percent profit and restoration of fresh institutional credit to all debt-trapped farmers.
“After the new government took over, a lot of hope was generated in the farming community. But it has only resulted in gloom and despair as the new NDA government has failed to change the economic policies of the previous Congress-led regime,” he said.
He said 2014 has gone down as one of the worst years of crop failures, market recession, unforeseen natural calamities and agrarian distress leading to drought in farmlands, with the Marathwada region recording nearly 2,000 suicides.
“Added to this is the continuous apathy of the administration towards the crisis, compelling us to protest on New Year Eve as 2014 proved to be a ‘Year of Betrayal’,” he added.
The VJAS reiterated its demand that Modi should introduce agro-scientist M.S. Swaminathan’s formula of minimum support price fixation in the 2015-2016 budget, fresh institutional credit and making agriculture more sustainable to ensure no farmer ends his/her life.
The protest saw participation of representatives of the Vidarbha Farm Widows Association and scores of children of farmers who ended their lives in 2014.