Yavatmal: Four cotton growers here committed suicide in the last three days as the local administration stopping relief aid to crisis-ridden farmers because of the code of conduct in place for coming local bodies elections, a local organisation fighting for farmers' cause alleged on Saturday.
"All the officials are busy because of the ensuing local body election and the State Election Commission has stopped relief aids for farmers which has aggravated the crisis in the cotton belt of Vidarbha," alleged Kishor Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti in a press release issued in Yavatmal.
The farmers who committed suicide were identified as Gajanan Kale of village Nandura, Mahadeo Chavan of village Khopari, Pundlik Ade of village Pathri and Narendra Thakre of village Sarfali, all from Yavatmal district.
Around 300 distressed farmers committed suicide in 2011 in Vidarbha region.
Tiwari said the model code of conduct being enforced by the state election commission is preventing the officials from releasing relief aids to farmers.
According to the data compiled by Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), Maharashtra has the second lowest yield at 355 kgs per hectare, which works out to around 1.50 quintals per acre.
An yield of at least 5-6 quintals per acre is needed for the farmer to make a decent profit. But this does not happen here mainly due to lack of irrigation, Tiwari said.
According to him, even though the state government has announced a relief package, it was too less to make good the farmers' losses. Under the scheme, a farmer gets Rs 4,000 per hectare with the dole being capped at Rs 8000 per cultivator.
"If the losses are considered, the grant is very low. The only solution is to increase the minimum support price as current market trends are indicating that bearish tone could continue in future," he said.