Expressing concern over unceasing farmer suicides in Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court today suggested that the state government should frame policies for their welfare.
The division bench of Justices Naresh Patil and S B Shukare also asked the government to ensure that the benefit of such policies and schemes reach the intended beneficiaries.
The court has taken cognisance of the issue suo motu (on its own) following media reports stating that over 600 farmers have committed suicide in the state this year alone.
Advocate Ashutosh Kumbhkoni, appointed as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the case to assist the court, informed that according to the National Bureau of Crime Records, 15,978 farmers committed suicide in Maharashtra in the last five years.
The judges asked the government to furnish gender-wise break-up of the figure at the next hearing.
The HC also suggested that one of the ways of preventing suicides was to introduce ‘joint farming’.
The Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act should be amended if necessary for the benefit of farmers, it said.
The state government should also create an environment of awareness so that farmers get knowledge about cultivating diverse crops. The farmers should also get an assurance from the government that their produce would be procured at the rates fixed by the authorities, it said.
The government had informed earlier that it was also providing counselling to the farmers, apart from concessions such as waiver of loans and electricity charges.
The bench, however, said the government must come up with long-term measures to address this socio-economic issue.
The matter has been posted for next hearing on December 2.
( Source – PTI )