34 farmers commit suicide in India’s Maharashtra in last 8 days: government

NEW DELHI, Aug. 18– At least 34 farmers have committed suicide
during the last eight days in India’s western state of Maharashtra as per
an official report, India’s state-run broadcaster All India Radio reported
on Thursday.

The deaths were recorded by the local authorities in the state’s eight
districts of Marathwada region from Aug. 6 to Aug. 13. According to
officials until now the region has witnessed below-average rainfall this
monsoon, thereby posing a threat to kharif crops (monsoon crops) because of
the ongoing dry spell. Reports said since the beginning of this year, so
far around 580 farmer suicides have been reported in Marathwada. The
farmers are demanding crop loan waivers and compensation. Last week, a
huge protest rally hit India’s financial capital Mumbai, with protesters
demanding quotas (reservation) for Marathas in government jobs and
educational institutions, amendments to scheduled caste and scheduled tribe
Acts and farm loan waivers.

The Maratha community constitutes one third of Mahrashtra’s population and
the majority of them are dependent on farming for making their ends meet.
Agriculture has suffered a huge set back in recent years in India due to
unfavourable weather conditions (drought and flooding). Climate change has
caused more than 59,000 suicides in India over the past three decades, a
research study published by the University of California, Berkeley last
week said. With Indian farming in crisis, people associated with it are
forced to look for other means of livelihood. – XINHUA