Farmer hangs himself in APMC office compound

Tired of mounting debts, 41-year-old tribal farmer Laxman Tekam on Sunday evening hanged himself in Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) office compound, in Pandharkawada in Yavatmal district.

Giving details of the suicide, farmland activist Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) told Deccan Herald from Nagpur: “Tekam, belonging to Kolam tribe, was fed up with lack of crop loan, mounting debts and like most farmers in the region he was trapped in the vicious circle churned out by Bt Cotton seeds. Now, Tekam will become one more statistic.”

Interestingly, last week, agriculture officers swooped on two seed shops in Kayar and Mukutban villages in Zari taluka of suicide-riven Yavatmal district and seized banned Bt Cotton seed Roundup Ready Flex (RRF) worth over Rs 20 lakh.

“The RRF variety of Bacillus thuringiensis(Bt) is the most controversial of all Bt Cotton seeds, but it continues to be sold with impunity in open market in Vidarbha region. It is an irony that while Mahyco (Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company) is already facing a ban on selling its BG-I and BG-II variety of Bt Cotton seeds, in the state, the government has so far failed to clamp down on RRF seeds despite Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) refusal to clear it on grounds that it is extremely harmful to the environment,” Tiwari pointed out.

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