New Delhi: Even as the nation revels in Holi festivities, there is no colour for debt-ridden farmers in Vidharbha in Maharashtra.
Three farmers — Gorakh Nikam, Atmaram Patil and Gokul Pawar — took their lives for not being able to pay back moneylenders.
Nikam is from Nashik while the others are from Dhule. All three had reportedly borrowed from moneylenders. According to Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, 216 farmers committed suicide in 2008 alone.
One suicide is reported every eight hours from the suicide belt of Vidharbha, and this despite the government’s Rs 60,0000-crore farm loan waiver.
According to experts the loan waiver is of little help as less than half of the marginal and small farmers, owning up to two hectares, are expected to benefit. Reports say more than 22 farmers who have taken their lives in Maharashtra's Vidarbha region had over five acres of land.
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.