Farmer Suicides : Vidarbha
'We cultivate pearls, but our children go hungry'
Shreekrishna Kalamb's life and musings as a poet-farmer symbolise the agrarian crisis that is wrecking havoc in the
Vidarbha countryside. Kalamb ended his life last month, and his grieving daughter now hopes to publish the collection.
VIDARBHA AGRI CRISIS
Life on credit, death in installments
Four years, three men, one family. The tragedy unleashed by the agrarian crisis on
the family of Deshmukhs in Katyar village of Vidarbha isnt vanishing.
Cooking numbers as agri-volcano builds up
Using a deviously devised method, Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh
is claiming that 75 per cent of Vidarbha farmer suicides are not due to
indebtedness at all. Meanwhile, the toll has crossed 250 this year and is rising.
The tale of three widows
Savita, Sunita and Pratibha are three women from different contexts, background and age groups, yet engulfed by the continuing tragedy that plays out in Maharashtra. The number of widows is growing at a frightening speed in the cotton country.
Striking a note of dissent
Even as the suicides in Vidharbha go on relentlessly, a trend has strengthened these past months. More and more farmers are blaming the Government
and even talking directly in their suicide notes to Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, writes
Replying with bullets
After the police firing incident at Wani in Vidarbha last month, the Maharashtra government's
cotton procurement at the minimum support price rose to 20,000 quintals in four days at one
centre alone. But in weeks, it's back to the old ways, making distressed farmers wait at
market yards for days, writes
Sermons for the distressed souls
In response to the mass farmer suicides in Vidarbha, the state government is organising
spiritual and counselling sessions, even as there are no signs that the economic roots of
the crisis are being tackled.
A final note on credit
The announcement of fresh crop loans came late in the sowing season for Vidarbha. And, say the suicide notes of farmers, the talk at the top has not been
matched by credit at the bottom. Meanwhile, the rain is adding to the devastation, writes
"Give us a price, not a package"
Vidarbha's farmers are unhappy with the "relief packages" announced by the State and the Centre.
Debt relief and access to credit are certainly important to them, but they want the larger
issues driving the suicides addressed first, writes
Politics of packages, packaging of politics
Had there been a waiver of debt of up to just Rs.25,000, more than 80 per cent of Vidarbha's farmers would no longer
have owed the banks money. People thought that waiver would come. It didn't, and the sense of being let down is great,
How Mumbai came to discover Vidarbha
The Prime Minister's upcoming visit to Vidarbha has had an impact even before he's reached there. It
would, however, be a transient impact if he does not see through the charade.
The mess there starts right at the top. Vidarbha's condition is the product of design, not decay, writes
Slowing down the suicides
There are several immediate steps both the Centre and the Maharashtra Government could take to ease the situation in
Vidarbha. These would not solve the long-term crisis, but would surely slow down the farm suicides that continue to
Waiting for 'anna' in Vidarbha
The failure of the banks has seen new kinds of creditors emerge in Vidharbha. Some of these now come in from neighbouring
States - with a 'home delivery system' of loans. Many farmers owe money to banks, cooperative societies, input dealers,
private lenders, close relatives - and 'anna.' Life is about borrowing from one lender to pay off another, writes