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Government admits marginal rise in farmers suicides

Written by: Staff
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Mumbai, June 29 (UNI) The Maharashtra Government today admitted that there has been a marginal rise in the suicides by farmers since 2001 but said it was doing its best to implement anti-poverty programmes and provide relief to the farming community.

Addressing a press conference here, state government spokesman and urban development secretary Dr J M Phatak said there was no compilation of statistics to ascertain whether the incidence of suicides had reduced in the last six months after the financial package of Rs 1075 crore was announced.

Dr Phatak said as per the state owned Vasantrao Naik Agriculture Mission, a total of 930 cases of farmers suicides are eligible for relief from the government. When told that number of farmers suicides compiled by NGOs is much more, he said the government figures were based on police reports. He said approximately 1050 farmers had committed suicide so far.

He said the number of suicides was much more in southern states and the Centre was expected to announce a special package at the end of the Prime Minister's tour in Vidarbha.

Dr Phatak said the government has already released Rs 241 crore for loan facility to 4.46 lakh farmers out of which Rs 218 crore has been deposited in banks. As many as 3.13 lakh farmers have been given certificates of interest waiver. In six districts of Vidarbha till June, 23,6740 mass marriages have been conducted.

Meanwhile,Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil said here yesterday that the Centre should announce a package of Rs five to six thousand crore for cotton growing districts in Vidarbha where farmers suicides have taken place.

He said lack or inadequate irrigation was one of the main reasons of farmers suicides. He said the state government is ready to borrow Rs 16,000 crore to complete the pending irrigation projects. Farmers should not be dependent on one crop only and all farmers families should have an alternate mode of living, he said.

He also demanded that the Centre should consider Gosikurd irrigation project as a national project and provide special funds to complete it. He said the project would prove to be a boon to irrigation in Vidarbha.

Marketing Minister Harshvardhan Patil said in the last two years,the Centre has hiked the minimum guarantee price for cotton by only Rs twenty. The state government would seek further hike in the price, he said.

UNI MR ADG RL ND1928

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