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Meet the heroes working silently to help farmers in drought-hit Marathwada

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:41 IST

Marathwada is reeling under the worst drought in recent years, pushing scores of locals to migrate to cities in search of livelihood, with Beed witnessing a steep rise in farmer suicides.

While Vidarbha reports the highest farmer suicides in the state, cases have been spiralling in Marathwada too which earlier faced a drought in 2012 and 2014. More than 1,100 farmers committed suicide in Marathwada in 2015. In January alone, over 124 farmers have ended their lives in Marathwada, which is well on its way to becoming the site for the maximum farmer suicides in drought-hit Maharashta.

While the government and agricultural bodies have taken measures to curb the agrarian crisis from growing out of control, a number of celebrities like Nana Patekar, Ajinkya Rahane and Akshay Kumar have also stepped up to help.

But here is a list of a few unsung heroes, who have been working to help the ailing region in their own way. Take a look:

1) The Vadke family

Some Indian weddings make headlines for their grand budgets. But Vivek Vadke, a 59-year-old engineer from Thane, had something else in mind for his daughter's wedding. The Vadke family, from Maharashtra, decided to cut down on the budget for the wedding in order to be able to donate money to the ailing farmers across the state.

According to Better India, Vadke donated around Rs 6 lakh to two drought-affected villages in Marathwada - the Padali village in Jalna and the Dapshed village in Nanded. The wedding took place on 24 December, 2015, after which the Vadkes personally handed over the sum to the villagers.

2) Biman Biswas

Another inspiring example is that of Biman Biswas, a senior section engineer working with the Central Railways who has been donating almost 40 per cent of his salary to support at least 10 farmers and their families in Marathwada.

"All my leaves were used to travel to villages in Yavatmal and Beed... It's a matter of small donations and we can save them," Biswas told The Times of India.

Biswas, who will retire soon, plans to spend time with the farmers later.

3) Rashika Joshi

In September 2015, an eight-year-old girl from Nagpur, Rashika Joshi, met the Maharashtra CM and donated her piggy bank savings to help the drought-hit farmers.

According to reports, the girl was inspired to donate after she saw actor Aamir Khan hand over a cheque for the cause.

4) In December 2015, a vada pav seller from Mumbai, Mangesh Ahiwale, donated Rs 20,000 to the CM Relief Fund.

CM Fadnavis tweeted about the incident and praised Ahiwale's generosity.

5) Neela Satyanarayan

Maharashtra's first woman election commissioner, Neela Satyanarayan has decided to donate the royalties of her book to farmers in the region, the Indian Express reported. According to the report, the royalties from Satyanarayan's book, which chronicles her four-decade long career, will go to the Naam foundation - which is helmed by Nana Patekar.

First published: 17 February 2016, 3:38 IST