Crops of Suicides

July is about to go by after two weeks, leaving back sharp disappointment among Maharashtrian farmers, as this monsoon gave rain close to nothing. With few initial showers, farmers have hurriedly finished sowing and planting different kind of crops in their fields, hoping that this year at least their dream will come true, however the situation seems even worse compared to the last year's tragedy. If this dry spell holds on for a week or so, all crops in entire Maharashtra will wilt and perish for want of rain. There shall be a terrible drought here.

Even people will not have water to drink. Having water soucrses dried out, even citizens living in small towns and villages will have to leave for the places where they can find potable water. Domestic and wild animals will die in their thousand of not having got water to drink. Indeed very bad times are upon the residents of Maharshatra. Even worse that there will be all time higher farmer suicide cases in the state.

In the five years (2014- 2018) in Maharashtra, 14034 farmers have committed suicides for various reasons linked to their farming problems. BJP govt, when came to power, had assured that there would not be a single case of farmer suicide, but alas,its promise proved hollow. All the schemes, subsidies and loan waivers for assuaging distresses of State farmers were just gimick of election campaign, in reality the farmers received nothing. State did not deliver even minimum support prices (MSC), let alone follow the recommendations introduced by P. Sainath commission.

Government, be it at centre or at state, is extremely apathetic when it comes to help the poor India farmers. Most critical problem with the farmers in Maharashtra is that they are all dependent on the rainfall for their farming.Only 18% of land is under irrigation and the whole of remaining land depends on rain water which is increasingly erratiic in recent years.

Many scholars and environmentalists say that due to the depletion of forests, such tragic situation of scanty rainfall has emerged in Maharashtra. According to some  experts in this area, there must be 33% forest coverage in the state, while at present it is only 20%, and to make matters worse, trees are cruelly being felled down for Projects and broadening highway roads and even private citizens cut trees mindlessly... nobody is taking this seriously. If this careless deforestation continues for few years, the state will turn into a desert and then there will be no time to make up for the damage done to our environment by us. So a stitch in time saves nine.


More by :  Prof. Madhav Sarkunde

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