Epicentre of farmers suicide pained by govt apathy

Epicentre of farmers suicide pained by govt apathy

Epicentre of farmers suicide pained by govt apathy

This sleepy village, about 15 km from Yavatmal, found itself at the centre of political activity a few years ago as the “farmers suicide capital” of the Vidarbha region.

SUVs carrying political leaders rolled in traversing the dusty roads where 35 farmers had committed suicide as the cotton crop failed year after year making it impossible for them to repay farm loans.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was here to meet the widows, so was Mani Shankar Aiyar. Narendra Modi stopped by at a village in the region while campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls assuring them a solution.

Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar also toured the region. But this Assembly election, the issue of farmer suicides appears to have fallen off the campaign trail and remained confined only to the manifesto booklets. Deccan Herald found most of its inhabitants complain about government apathy.

“The politicians came and went, but our problems remain. We do not have access to irrigation facilities to till our land and are at the mercy of rain gods,” Swagat Rathod, who grows cotton on a small piece of land here, said.

“Even the banks do not give us loans citing the suicides in the village,” said Babytai Rathod, whose husband Vinod committed suicide in January 2003, triggering a series of such incidents.

Babytai has since raised a family of five and married off two daughters. The BJP and Congress leaders believe that a separate state is the answer to the problems faced by the people of this region.

“Farmers do not need our sympathy. The government should give them access to latest farm technologies, good seeds and proper timely advise on farm practices,” senior BJP leader and four-time MLA Sudhir Mungantiwar told Deccan Herald.

“A separate Vidarbha is thepanacea for all the ills faced by this region,” Congress leader and ex-minister Nitin Raut said. Mungantiwar, a chief ministerial aspirant, echoes the same view.

“How will a separate Vidarbhahelp us,” said Babytai, who works as a farm hand in a nearby village, after the crop on her piece of land failed this year.

These issues, however, are lost in the cacophony of allegations and counter-allegations by political parties in this bitterly fought elections.