Sunday, February 7, 2010

State facing severe food crisis: P Sainath

State facing severe food crisis: P Sainath
Friday, February 05, 2010 AT 11:19 AM (IST)

PUNE: Migration of distressed farmers away from agriculture, coupled with a rapid shift to cash crops has pushed Maharashtra into deep foodgrain crisis, said editor (rural affairs) of `The Hindu` P. Sainath here on Thursday.

Sainath interacted with mediapersons on issues concerning credibility of media and farmers suicides, The event was organised by Pune Union of Working Journalist. He debunked claims that state assembly election was without any issue. “State is facing devastating migration of farmers away from agriculture, rapid shift to cash crop from grain fields culminating into severe shortage of food grains and hence uncontrolled price rise. Yet, media and politicians projected assembly election as election without any issue. It is betrayal of common people,” he criticised.

To drive home seriousness of agrarian crisis, he gave figures of National Bureau of Crime Records on farmers suicides and per capita food grain production of the state. He said, “Even after loan waiver scheme, migration and suicides of Vidharbha farmers have not stopped. Package helped farmers from Western Maharahstra and other states but not farmers of Vidharbha and Marathwada. In twelve years from 1997 to 2008, the state has witnessed 41,404 farmers' suicides. This figure is understatement as suicides of women farmers and Dalit, Adivasis with disputed land titles are not accounted for,” he said.

Maharashtra is facing serious agrarian crisis as farmers who are already in minority in the state with growing urbanisation are abandoning fields, Sainath added. He criticised media organisation for neglecting burning issues. Issues like growing inflation, price rise, uncertainty in jobs should be seriously debated in the media. Paid news` culture has threatened credibility and survival of the independent media, he added.

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