Sunday, December 12, 2010

Minister Kadam misled legislature regarding suicide figures-'Govt making mockery of farmer suicides'-TIME OF INDIA

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YAVATMAL: By giving a superfluous figure pertaining to farmers' suicides in the state, rehabilitation minister Patangrao Kadam has not only misled the house but hurt the sentiments of the toiling masses trapped in the long drawn out agrarian crisis, claimed Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti president and noted farm activist Kishor Tiwari in a press release on Saturday.

"We strongly object to the written reply of rehabilitation minister Patangrao Kadam that 4,427 debt-ridden farmers in Vidarbha have committed suicide between 2001 and October 31, 2010, since the figures do not reflect the reality," Tiwari said, adding that of these, 991 suicides were said to have occurred in 2009.

"Rehabilitation minister Patangrao Kadam's reply totally contradicts the figures provided by the National Crime Records Bureau, and the Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavlamban Mission (VNSS). The minister's reply claims that the lowest number of suicides, 991, have been recorded in 2010 and 2009, despite the fact that the true picture is much higher than the figure provided by the administration to the minister."

This is unfortunate and another attempt to ignore Vidarbha's agrarian crisis, Tiwari has said.

According to Tiwari, the official figure of farmers suicides provided by National Crime Records Bureau and Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavlamban Mission are self explanatory.

"We want to draw the attention of the Maharashtra government to the recent report of National Crime Records Bureau, according to which farmers suicides figure of the nation since 1997 will cross 50,000 mark this year. This is a very gloomy picture of the agrarian crisis, which has already begun to spread all over Maharashtra," Tiwari said, adding that only an aggressive long-term policy can stop the suicides by innocent farmers.

"Even this year, over 42 lakh farmers in the state have opted for Bt-cotton in anticipation of a better yield. But they have now been pushed to the wall as a result of excessive as well as unseasonal rain damaging crops coupled with increased cost of pesticide and fertilisers," said Tiwari.

Tiwari has also alleged that the Rs 1,000 crore fresh package announced by the chief minister would not help cotton farmers of Vidarbha, whereas it would help grape, onion and cane growers of Western Maharashtra.

The farm activist also wanted to know how the government could complete the stupendous task of evaluating crop losses in a record time of 72 hours, despite the small number of staffers for the job. "This shows the hypocrisy of the state government and lays bare its intention of not addressing the real issue or ensuring financial support to the hard hit. Tiwari has also challenged the minister to come out for a public debate.

"The corruption ridden administration headed by the bureaucrats have pocketed a major share of the special packages, and I demand a CBI probe into the murky affairs at the Mantralaya and district administration," Tiwari has said.

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'Govt making mockery of farmer suicides'

MUMBAI: The government, which has announced a compensation package of Rs 1,000 crore for the crop damage caused by unseasonal rains, has been accused of making a mockery of farmer suicides.

The Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti alleged that the state grossly understated the farmer suicides. Relief and rehabilitation minister Patangrao Kadam had claimed that 4,400-odd farmers had committed suicide in the state over the past 10 years.

Samiti president Kishore Tiwari referred to reports of the National Crime Records Bureau and the Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Swabhimaan Mission to claim that more than 8,000 farmers committed suicide in the said period. "This shows the lack of seriousness of the government towards farmer welfare," Tiwari said.

The Samiti has decided to approach the opposition parties on the issue. "We will ask them to raise the issue in the assembly and demand an apology from the minister. The source of the incorrect data must be revealed too," Tiwari said.


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