Yavatmal: Four more debt-ridden farmers have allegedly committed suicide in the district, taking this year`s toll to 536 in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, an NGO said on Saturday.
These farmers, who were distressed as their standing crop had been damaged in this week`s heavy rains, ended their lives by consuming pesticides yesterday, Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), an advocacy group, said in a release here.
The deceased were identified as Pundlik Ukey, Dipak Vajpayee, Atul Kute and Sitaram Rathod, all hailing from different villages in the district, it said.
With this, the total number of debt-trapped farmers who have ended their lives in Vidarbha this year has risen to 536, said the NGO, which keeps track of all farm suicides in the cotton belt.
The latest suicides were reported at a time when Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar yesterday attended a "Janata Darbar" (public hearing) in Yavatmal town, where he heard grievances of the people.
"Agrarian crisis in Vidarbha has entered its seventh year now. As per Government records, more than 9,000 dry land farmers have killed themselves since 2005 due to distress and despair caused by crop failure and financial losses due to collapse of cotton prices and wrong policies of the Centre regarding MSP and export," VJAS president Kishor Tiwari said.
Tiwari asked the Government to intervene and see that farmers take up less rain-sensitive food crops like jawar and bajra instead of cotton and soya.