Kishore Tiwari, president of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, an NGO working for farmers' rights said,"The situation has become so bad that these seven peasants have approached the district officials requesting their green signal to end their lives."
The 7 farmers- Kishore Ingale, Bhanudas Wadadkar, Pankaj Gawande, Shankar Khadse, Kundabai Lonkar, Kamala Warhade and Vasanta Gingavkar have been running from pillar to post for the past seven months seeking Maharashtra government aid that was promised to them.
Frustrated, the peasants wrote a letter and submitted it to the local tehsildar. The memorandum seeking their "clearance" to commit suicide was received with an acknowledgement from the surprised officials. It was then submitted to the collector's office and another acknowledgement was received.
According to government regulations, the farmers were entitled for a sum of Rs 4,000 per head for losses due to hailstorm, droughts and floods last year. Tiwari further added,"For over six months, the money remains locked up in bank accounts as the district authorities are not clearing the disbursal. This is now forcing the farmers to write letters and ask for 'clearance' before committing suicide."
The current drought-like situation has damaged 70 percent of sown crops and has claimed 23 lives in the past 12 days. The suicide toll in various villages include seven from Yavatmal, five from Amravati, four from Wardha, two each from Akola and Buldhana, one each from Bhandara, Chandrapur and Washim districts. The crop losses have been estimated at around Rs.8,000-10,000 per acre, pushing the farmers into deeper debts.