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Dec 11, 2010 at 09:21pm IST

Crops ruined, 6 Nashik farmers commit suicide

Nashik: Six farmers have committed suicide in Nashik in the last few days after their grape crops were destroyed by unseasonal rains. The farmers took the drastic step even after the state government announced a Rs 1,000 crore relief package last week.

Grape farmer Kiran Jadhav's family in stunned silence after the 23-year-old committed suicide after his grape crop, his only income against crippling debt, was destroyed following unseasonal rainfall in November.

Kiran was the sixth grape farmer in two weeks to have committed suicide in Nashik district.

"He was constantly worried about the increasing debt amount. He had to get his sister married," says Kiran's mother Nanda Jadhav.

Villagers say their district in Western Maharashtra was never troubled by farmer suicides, until Cyclone Phyan in 2009 and unseasonal rains in 2010 hit grape growers very hard.

The Rs 1000 crore relief by the state government they say, is too little, too late and shows a lack of understanding of the costs involved.

"They don't understand the cost of farming. The amount they're giving will not help us at all. Each person has debts of Rs 8-10 lakh to pay off," says Avankhed village sarpanch Narendra Jadhav.

Grape production is likely to be down 40 per cent in 2010, while total agricultural losses covering 5 and a half lakh hectares in the state could reach Rs 10,000 crore. The figures also hide the horrific reality that has hit farmers like Kiran Jadhav and his family.

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