Tragic increase in farmer suicides in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region with 1,023 deaths in 2022: Official report

Tragic increase in farmer suicides in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region with 1,023 deaths in 2022: Official report

The Marathwada region of Maharashtra reported 1,023 farmer suicides in 2022, up from 887 in the previous year, according to an official from the divisional commissioner’s office. This region, comprising of Jalna, Aurangabad, Parbhani, Hingoli, Nanded, Latur, Osmanabad, and Beed districts, had recorded only one farmer suicide in 2001. The data from the divisional commissionerate shows that a total of 10,431 farmers have ended their lives in the region’s eight districts since 2001.

Between 2001 and 2010, the highest number of farmer suicides, 379, was reported in 2006. In the 2011-2020 decade, the highest number of farmer suicides, at 1,133, was reported in 2015. Out of the 10,431 farmers who ended their lives since 2001, 7,605 had received aid as per the government norms, according to an official.

Activists and officials have noted that the region has seen drought-like conditions in some years and excess rain in others, which has compounded the difficulties of crop growers. The irrigation network in the region is also not being used to its full capacity. Vinayak Hegana, who runs a counseling center for farmers in Osmanabad in collaboration with the district administration, stressed the need to work on a micro level while analyzing farmer suicides. He said, “Policies are being prepared at the top, but the implementation on the ground can be improved.”

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Hegana also highlighted that the pattern of farmer suicides has changed, with most suicides being reported between July and October in the past, but now the numbers are growing between December and June. He suggested that finding lacunas in these policies and making them better should be a continuous process and there should be a group of people who can work on this.

When contacted, Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council Ambadas Danve said, “Though there have been multiple loan waivers for farmers, the figures (of suicide) are growing. When we waive their loans, we also have to see to it that their crop yield also gets good returns.” Danve also highlighted the concerns over substandard seeds and fertilizers being sold at high rates. “These are harmful to the farming sector,” he said. “The quality of these farm resources should be up to the mark, which is most important,” he added.

(With inputs from PTI)

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