Notwithstanding the state government’s tall claims on tackling the agrarian crisis, 1,024 farmers have committed suicide in the backward Marathwada region this year.From 14 in 2003, the region has witnessed a steady increase in suicides.From January 1, 2015 to December 7, 1,024 farmers committed suicide, against 569 in 2014, and 207 in 2013. An estimated 3,000 farmers committed suicide in the state from January 1to December 7.

Kishore Tiwari, a farmers’ leader and head of the special task-force set up by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, said the spurt in the region was a matter of concern for the government. “It is for the first time in the recent history of the region that so many farmers have committed suicide. Prima facie, steps taken by the state government have been grossly inadequate. The CongressNCP government completely ignored the region, as a result, there was a spurt in farmers’ suicides,” Tiwari told TOI.

Tiwari felt there was an urgent need to redraft policies to halt the suicides. “We require a new credit policy. We have given massive conces sions to the industrial sector. On the same lines, five-year credit should be given to farmers and there should be a one-time settlement of outstanding dues,” Tiwari said.

Asenior NCP leader said most suicides were registered in Beed (286), followed by Nanded (177), Osmanabad (154), Aurangabad (131), Latur (91), Parbhani (84), Jalna (66) and Hingoli (35). “It is during the BJP rule that such a large number of suicides have been reported. We ruled the state for 15 years but the agrarian crisis was not so serious. The BJP government has miserably failed to understand the plight of farmers,” he said.

He pointed out that despite two visits by a high-level central team to the region, no financial assistance has been received. “Fadnavis will have impress the NDA government about the need to immediately release financial assistance,” he said.