[ 1 Jan, 2007 0118hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
NAGPUR: Farmers of Kolzari village in Yavatmal district of Vidarbha have decided to give up cotton cultivation in the New Year. More than 70 families of the village took a resolution "no price, no crop" at a meeting on Sunday.
Even as Kolzari villagers decided to give up cotton farming, the suicide spree continued in the region with five more farmers dying on Saturday, taking the toll to 1,065 in 2006, according to Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti.
At an emotionally-charged meeting, widow of Shivlal Rathod, who committed suicide recently, stood up to move the proposal. "Cotton cultivation has killed my husband. Let us stop growing the crop," she said.
She was seconded by Prakash Pawar, whose father, being unable to buy wedding gifts for his niece and nephew, ended life in May.
"Cotton is the root cause of our distress and economic crisis," said Prakash. Raju Rathod, sarpanch of Ambezari, a neighbouring village, said they will follow suit and more from the district may boycott cotton farming.
Mohan Jadhav, a local farm activist said cotton had become a high-cost, high-risk crop with low-price and no-buyer problem making its cultivation unsustainable