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India sees fresh wave of farmer suicides: report

(Xinhua)

11:10, December 07, 2011

NEW DELHI, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- A fresh wave of farmer suicides has been reported in several Indian states, pushing families deeper into poverty, said local daily The Hindustan Times Wednesday.

The report quoted a coalition of farm-sector organizations as saying it had identified over 700 cases of suicides by farmers in two states alone this year, but government officials said they were still verifying the incidents.

Most of the suicides were caused by poverty and debts, as well as lack of support from the government to desperately struggling farmers.

Vidarbha in Maharashtra has emerged as the epicenter of farmer suicides again. There have been 680 suicides in just six districts in 2011, said the report.

Kishor Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samithi, whose organization has been recording such cases for a decade, belied official statement that only 152 farmers killed themselves in the western Indian state so far this year.

The Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture, another farmers' organization, said over 90 farmers have committed suicides in six districts of Andhra Pradesh in southern India in one month alone from October to November, 2011.

In a dramatic protest last week, a farmer drank pesticide to demand aid from the government at an electoral rally of the Maharastra chief minister.

The suicides threaten to undo recent gains from India's improved farm-credit policy, including the state-sponsored 2008 windfall loan waiver scheme, easier loans and higher floor prices, said the newspaper.

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