Maharashtra: Demand for Drought Declaration in Marathwada; sit-in protest from October 12
Because of deficient rainfall in the monsoon season, All India Kisan Sabha has raised a demand to declare drought in Marathwada region, which has already reported 685 farmer suicides till August 31 this year.
गाँव कनेक्शन 11 Oct 2023 1:57 PM GMT
Southwest monsoon season is over and several districts in Maharashtra have received deficient rainfall that has affected kharif crops. Farmers groups in Marathwada region of the state have started to raise a demand for declaration of drought. The drought-prone region, spread across eight districts, is also infamous for high number of farmer suicides in the country.
“There is crop failure in more than 24 districts in Maharashtra. We have witnessed a 50 per cent decrease in the crop yield. We haven't got any crop insurance relief. Our region Marathwada is drought prone but the Maharashtra government is unwilling to declare it so,” 54-year-old Rajan Kshirsagar, general secretary for All India Kisan Sabha (Maharashtra state), told Gaon Connection. All India Kisan Sabha is the farmers' wing of the Communist Party of India.
Farmer groups are planning large scale protests. “We will do sit-in protests in various blocks of Marathwada from October 12 because the government is not listening to us,” he added. The eight districts of Marathwada include Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar (formerly Aurangabad), Jalna, Parbhani, Beed, Dharashiv (Osmanabad), Nanded, Hingoli, and Latur.
Last week, on October 5, AIKS (All India Kisan Sabha) issued a press statement warning of unrest among the farmers because their demands were not being met.
This entire monsoon season has been a season of woes for farmers in Marathwada. The monsoon arrived late in June and the entire month remained mostly dry affecting kharif sowing.
As previously reported by Gaon Connection, out of total 36 districts in Maharashtra, 35 districts have reported a large rainfall deficit and one district had been categorised under ‘No Rain’ category in June this year. The India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) rainfall data showed that against its normal monsoon rainfall of 102.30 millimetre (mm) rainfall, the state had received only 14.50 mm rainfall between June 1 and June 18, when kharif sowing takes place in the state.
July brought good rainfall to the state but August again went dry. Worse, several districts in the state reported snail attack on crops with some of the worst affected districts in Marathwada. Farmers in Latur, Dharashiv, Jalna, and Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar districts are the worst affected, as reported by Gaon Connection.
“There has been less rain in our region, the reservoirs have less than 34 per cent storage which should ideally be more than 40 per cent in capacity. The water availability is less and crops have been immensely affected,” said Kshirsagar.
The farmers association is demanding the government to first declare the Marathwada region as drought-hit and then provide the farmers with crop insurance relief along with compensation of the crops that have been damaged, and fair price for their produce.
As per news reports, as many as 685 farmers have died by suicide this year till August 31 in Maharashtra's Marathwada region, with the highest deaths at 186 reported from Beed, the home district of state Agriculture Minister Dhananjay Munde.