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Tribal Vidarbha farm widows urge Maha CM to visit their families
Tribal farm widows Kavita Santosh Sidam of village Mangi and Radha Anil Marape of village Thanegoan in Yavatmal district whose husbands committed suicide last week due to crop damages in heavy floods have urged Mahrashtra Chief Minister Prithiviraj Chavan, who is on Vidarbha tour to assess the flood damages, to visit their homes to witness their sufferings.

“Subhash Rathode of village Parjana and Shriram Mundale of village Chikhaldara killed themselves in Yavatmal district due to poverty and hunger as during last one month there was no work for tribal farm labour due to continuous rains, leading to their starvation,” Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) said.

Earlier on Monday and Thursday Santosh Sidam of Mangi village and Anil Marape of Thanegoan village in Yavatmal district and Charan Rathode from village Parsoda in Amravati district ended their lives after watching their standing crops of cotton, soya and paddy submerge and rot.

“No officials from administration visited ill fated families even after these farm suicides were widely reported in media forcing these two farm widows  Kavita Santosh Sidam of village mangi  and Radha Anil Marape village Thanegoan  to request Maharashtra CM to visit their home,” Tiwari added.

The Maharashtra government, it will be recalled has steadfastly refused to declare a wet drought in Vidarbha, where the otherwise arid region has been lashed with very heavy rains right from June, leaving it flood-ravaged. The situation has been particularly bad in the east Vidarbha which has seen unprecedented heavy rainfall in the last 52 days.

While maximum damage has been done to cotton and soyabean crops; paddy crops, which require lot of water, have been damaged too due to the incessant rain, and farmers have been forced to sow it thrice besides spending on expensive fertilizers.

Even if the rain stops now, the 5 million hectares on which standing crops have been damaged will not yield more than 50%. That alone works out to a cumulative loss of Rs 10,000 crores as Vidarbha is receiving ten times the rain it normally used to get. The administration simply blames it on localised cloud-bursts but that is not bringing any succor to the farmers.

Apart from Yavatmal, Wardha, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli too are reporting heavy crop damages. In fact officials at the Divisional commissioner's office admitted being baffled by reports of crops loss due to floods from the perennially drought-hit Buldhana as major dams in the region are over-flowing.

“There are reports of thousands of cattle too dying," admitted an official who added, The respective collectorates in the districts will take a month to complete the survey and recommend compensation for the loss, it is reported.

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