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Last Updated: Monday, 31 July 2006, 18:41 GMT 19:41 UK
Website to help Indian farmers
Indian cotton farmer and his sons at Yavatmal outside Nagpur
Many farmers have been hit hard
Authorities in India's Maharashtra state are setting up a website to give information about measures being taken to help debt-ridden farmers.

The website will deal with the state's cotton-growing Vidarbha region which has seen a rise in suicides by farmers hit by falling prices and rising debt.

Rural activists in the region say more than 157 farmers have committed suicide in the last two months.

The website is being launched following an order of the Mumbai High Court.

The website will provide information about the allocation and distribution of relief funds, welfare measures being undertaken, and the names of those benefiting.

'Very grave'

The state's Relief and Rehabilitation Secretary, Krishna Vatsa, told the BBC's Monica Chadha in Mumbai that the website would also keep track of the number of farmers committing suicide in the region.

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Earlier in July, the Mumbai High Court had asked the administration to set up a website which would make public details of the relief packages being given to farmers and the names of beneficiaries receiving government aid.

Activist Kishor Tiwari told the BBC that 11 farmers killed themselves within 48 hours in the region last week.

He said the situation was "very grave" and that the farmers were yet to benefit from the relief package announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the state government.

Last week, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh admitted that the government was unable to find a solution to the farmers' problem.

Indian farmer suicide toll rises
14 Jul 06 |  South Asia
India's poor villagers wait in hope
01 Feb 06 |  South Asia

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