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Debt-ridden Vidarbha farmer burns himself

CNN-IBN
Apr 12, 2008 at 11:00am IST

New Delhi: A debt-ridden farmer in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra on Friday immolated himself by leaping into a pile of burning hay.

Reports say Baban Jeughale had taken a loan of Rs 1.75 lakh rupees to cultivate his 10 hectares of land. When he couldn't repay the debt, he committed suicide.

Vidarbha is witnessing continuing farmer suicides despite the Prime Minister's 3,750 crore-rupee relief package as well as the 60,000 crore-rupee farm-loan waiver announced in the Budget.

At least nine Vidarbha farmers have ended their lives in this region over the last week alone. Over 250 farmers have been reported to commit suicide there since January.

Experts blame drought, a fall in crop prices and rising input costs for the suicides. They add the loan waiver is of little help to farmers as less than half of the marginal and small farmers, owning up to two hectares, are expected to benefit.

In Vidarbha, of the 63 families, only 13 qualify for the government's loan waiver.

The rest have more than five acres of land and debt ranging from Rs 15,000 to 20,000.

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