Eighty-six farmers have committed suicide due to farm-related indebtedness in Sangli and Solapur districts of western Maharashtra between January 2005 to December 2007.
This is contrary to the belief that suicides are a fact only in the cotton-growing region of Vidarbha and some parts of Marathwada, where, incidentally, 2,503 farmers had committed suicide during the same period.
According to official information, the suicides were due to ‘inability to repay debts’, ‘loss in farming’ and ‘lack of money to buy farm equipments’.
The information was got by Shiv Sena secretary Vinayak Raut under Right to Information (RTI) Act. The information gathered is a precursor to the party’s agitation, beginning January 16, in western Maharashtra demanding loan waiver to farmers in the region.
Sangli has witnessed the maximum number of suicides in western Maharashtra — 47 — followed by Solapur — 39. Deputy chief minister RR Patil, finance minister Jayant Patil and co-operative minister Patangrao Kadam hail from Sangli.
Interestingly, the families of farmers who committed suicide in RR Patil’s constituency Tasgaon were termed eligible for compensation of Rs1 lakh, while those in Jayant Patil’s constituency Walva denied it. “They were not eligible for it,” the information provided by the collector of Sangli said.
The Sena agitation will begin on January 16 with a march led by Sena leader Gajanan Kirtikar and MP Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil passing through five districts - Pune, Satara, Sangli, Solapur and Kolhapur - and culminating in Pune on February 3. Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray is scheduled to address a farmers’ rally on that day