Maharashtra farmer ends life over debts, Govt failure to ensure MSP

According to Kedari's brother-in-law Arvind Waghmare, the incident took place in Bankarphata village on Saturday where Kedari worked as a farmer for the past eight years.

Pune: In a shocking incident, penniless and frustrated Maharashtra farmer Dashrath L. Kedari jumped into a village pond to end his life after penning a note in which he mentioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi while spelling his plight, his grieving family said here on Monday.

According to Kedari’s brother-in-law Arvind Waghmare, the incident took place in Bankarphata village on Saturday where Kedari worked as a farmer for the past eight years.

“That day, he seemed very depressed, but he conveyed his wishes for a long life to the PM, and then jumped into the nearby pond and killed himself. A suicide note was recovered later,” Waghmare told IANS.

The opposition Shiv Sena has slammed the state government for its failure to protect farmers reeling under a severe agrarian crisis with a record number of farmland suicides clocked this year.

In his suicide note, Kedari said that it was due to the government’s failure on ensuring Minimum Support Price that he was compelled to end his life as he was hounded by debtors.

He rued how the state was not giving MSP to onion, tomato and other cultivators who were ravaged by the recent floods and the losses of the pandemic.

“What should we do… Modi Saheb. We are not begging for alms, but what is rightly due to us. MSP must be given to us as the money-lenders are threatening us. Nobody takes risks like the farmers… where do we go with our grievances,” Kedari said.

Shiv Sena spokespersons Kishore Tiwari and Manisha Kayande slammed the government for its failure on tackling the agrarian crisis in the state which has resulted in despair with a spate of suicides.

Shooting a letter to the Prime Minister, Tiwari, who is also the President of Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Swavlamban Mission (VNSSM), urged Modi to immediately come and visit the Kedari family as the state government has failed to solve the problems of farmers.

He recalled how Modi – during his ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ with farmers during his visit to Yavatmal (March 2014) – had assured to address the core issues like MSP, marketing, input costs, easy credit from public sector banks, change in crop patterns, risk management by way of crop insurance, etc.

However, despite the PM’s best efforts, nothing has materialised owing to a hostile administration and corrupt implementation agencies, leading to tragedies like Kedari’s suicide for precisely similar reasons, Tiwari added.

He called upon Modi to visit the Kedari family or direct Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to go and console the deceased farmers’ kin during her visit to Pune next week.

“A farmer greets the PM and then goes on his ‘chita’ (funeral pyre), but the PM is busy bringing cheetah to the country. This is the sad state of affairs in the country,” said Kayande.

Tiwari added that this year, over 1,080 farmers have ended lives in Vidarbha alone and the state has created a new record with around 2,600 peasants’ suicides in the first nine months of 2022.

Kedari, 42, is survived by his wife Shanta and two college-going children – son Shubham, 20, and daughter Shravani, 18.

Waghmare said his brother-in-law hailed from Wadgaon-Anand village and a team from Alephata police station visited the family and registered a case after making inquiries.

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