MUMBAI: After symbolic protests over the low rates onions are fetching, farmers have started committing suicide. At least two onion cultivators took their lives in Satana tehsil of Nashik district over the past two days, sources said.
While Tatyabhau Khairnar, hanged himself on Friday, Manoj Dhondge consumed poison on Saturday, they added.
“Tatyabhau had a Rs 12-lakh loan, besides money he owed fellow villagers. He had around 900 kg of onions in his godown, and was depressed for a week due to the low rates,” explained Mahendra Bhamre, police officer of the village. A preliminary inquiry has been conducted, but no relief has reached the family yet, he added. In Dhondge’s case, an inquiry is pending, and his demise has been registered as an accidental death, officials at the Jaikheda police station said.
The onion rates have dipped so much that some farmers can’t even recover what they spend to take their crop to the market. One such farmer, Vikram Kolhe, from Solapur district, sold around two tons of his crop at the Siddheshwar market in the city, and made just Rs 2,087. His transportation cost, meanwhile, was Rs 2,430.
It’s the onion farmers hoarding their summer crop that are in distress since the fresh crop is fetching better rates and has created a glut, explained minister of state for agriculture Sadashiv Khot. Assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts is available on Tamil Nadu’s health helpline 104 and Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050.
‘Can’t even cover money spent to transport crop’
Farmer Vikram Kolhe says onion rates are so low, he couldn’t even make as much as he spent to take his crop to the market. “The trader offered different rates for different quantities, but it was less than the transportation cost. He told me to take the onion back to my godown, which would have cost `2,500, so I settled for a loss,” he explained, adding that he could afford it as he works as a teacher and earns additional income, but not many are so lucky