"Vidarbha alone has seen 36 suicides since unseasonal rain and hailstorm that lashed the region since February 25. We have visited the families of 17 farmers who have killed themselves in last five days and the names of the farmers who committed suicide have been collected," Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti President Kishor Tiwari said in a statement here.
Among those farmers took the extreme step are-- Shankar Gadmale of village Warud Ijara; Krishnna Wankhede of village Sakhara; Sudharkar Potey of village Navargoan; Damadu Rathod of village Dattpur, all from Yavatmal district. Besides, Vijay Kasture of village Bothali; Pantyya Regudwar of village Ambe-Dhanora; Subhash Bhogekar of village Shanapur; Abhiman Kale of village Borgoan, all from Chandrapur district ended their lives.
Vasudeo Khule of village Padsad; Suresh Bhusari of village Gangapur; Vijay Dhore of village Boregoan, all from Nagpur district and Santosh Lichade of village Kasahkheda; Yogeshhwar Ladhi of village Hiwara; Raju Ghotekar of village Wadner; Bhagvant Mahajan of village Dhanora, all from Wardha district are among those who took the extreme step.
Yashavant Muley of village Panchalafrom Wahim district and Madhav Lanje war of village Nilagodhi from Bhandara district also took the extreme step due to hailstorm, he claimed. Tiwari further claimed, "We have seen the pathetic condition of distressed farmers where even officers have not reached."
The Maharashtra government last week declared a relief aid of Rs 4,000 crore but the ground reality is that the list of farmers has not been finalised so far due to the apathy of the bureacrats who are busy with the general election schedule, he alleged.
"We are told by the local authorities that relief aid can only be given after election," Tiwari said and added that the farmers whose crops have suffered more than 50 per cent damage will only be given relief. Hailstorm has affected 28 of the 35 districts destroying crops on over 19 lakh hectares and leaving farmers on the brink. The rabi wheat, jowar and sugarcane have been damaged and fruit crops including pomegranate, mango, orange and grapes are also affected.