Nagpur: Farmer suicides in Vidarbha, have gradually gone down during the last three years, with only 966 cases recorded in 2009, according to official statistics.
The Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swawalamban Mission, a nodal agency of the Maharashtra government, recorded 1,246 farmer suicides in 2007 (in Vidarbha), 1147 suicides in 2008 and 966 in 2009 respectively, showing a decline in the trend, Mission Director General, S G Malakolikar told reporters.
Also, among the 1,246 suicides in 2007, only 337 cases were found to be eligible for compensation as per the definition laid down by government and decided by a district level committee, he said.
The Committee, headed by the District Collector includes the SP, Zila Parishad CEO, agriculture officers, panchayat samiti and representative each of the farmers and a NGO.
In 2008, only 305 cases were eligible out of the total 1,147 while 201 were taken in out of 966 (in 2009) and 158 cases are still under investigation.
Malakolikar said eligible cases were duly paid necessary compensation of Rs one lakh-- Rs 30,000 in cash and remaining Rs 70,000 under monthly income scheme of post office.
Malakolikar said the norms for eligibility set by the government were crop failure, mounting debts and harassment for recovery of loan either by banker or private money lender.
Although the statistics are confined to six most affected districts including Yavatmal, Amravati, Akola, Washim, Buldana and Wardha, the picture of entire Vidarbha region is more or less the same, he said.
Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, an NGO has also compiled figures which are encouraging on farmers suicide front.
Samiti President Kishore Tiwari said that as many as 456 farmers ended their lives in 2004; 666 in 2005; 1,886 in 2006; 1,556 in 2007; 1,680 in 2008 and 916 in year 2009, indicating a sharp decline in farmer suicides in Vidarbha region with Yavatmal being the suicide capital.
He however, alleged that although the state government accepted the Narendra Jadhav Committee report to resolve the agrarian crisis, it was still not serious on the issue.
Children of the deceased farmers are still deprived of free education and about 6,300 farm widows were denied family pension scheme, he claimed.
Samiti has drawn the government`s attention on including these farm widows in large numbers in Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojna and Antodaya Yojana meant for BPL families, Tiwari said.