UPA convener Smt.Sonia Gandhi urged to intervene to stop vidarbha farmers suicide
VIDARBHA JAN ANDOLAN SAMITI
11, Trisaran Society, In front of Somalwar School, Khamla, Nagpur – 440 025
Mob No. 9422108846 / 9371137653 / 9822593943. Ph : 07235-227564.
Ref No. VJAS/Cotton PULSES-NFSM/1589/2011 Dated-05.05.2011.
MOST URGENT – MATTER PERTAINING TO FARMERS’ EXPLOITATION
B.E.(Mech. Engg.), MBA, LL.B., M.A. (Pub.Admn.),
M.I.S. (USA), Fellow – I.E.H., Fellow – CA.
VIDARBHA JAN ANDOLAN SAMITI
Ref : Exploitation of cotton and Tur- Arhar – Pulses cultivating Farmers vidarbha
Sub : request for thr Central Government intervention to save cotton and TUR Farmers of vidarbha
Ours is the Peoples' Rights Group & We are fighting for protection Rights of Public at Large. We have been fighting for the cause of poor farmers in Vidarbha Region, who all are suffering due to failure of policies of Central & State Government to protect their rights & interests and in turn are forced to take extreme steps of suicides in which so far more than 8500 Farmers have killed their life due to acute depression.
We are forced to draw attention of you to the facts that vidarbha farmers are being forced to commit suicide due wrong policies of UPA Govt. here is recent report of the cotton and pluses grower of vidarbha
Vidarbha's Dying Fields And Farmer's Suicides
While the government of India and Maharashtra, led-by Congress, which claims itself as a party of aam aadmi and one of the world’s fastest growing economies, only images of this new prosperity have reached the impoverished rural areas where two thirds of India’s 1.1 billion people live. Left behind by India’s soaring economic boom is Vidarbha,a region of hilly forests in the middle of India. It used to be known as India’s cotton belt – but now captures headlines as its suicide belt - that’s an average one suicide every eight hours. Vidarbha farmers face a grim reality of crop failures, sinking global cotton prices and crushing debts. Farmers in default at the bank frequently resort to illegal moneylenders who charge up to 100 per cent interest. And, the government safety net – that once kept cotton prices closer to the cost of production – has all but disappeared. Under India’s new free trade policies, Vidarbha’s 3.2 million cotton farmers – most of them small landholders – must compete in a global market that includesformidable, often subsidized rivals, including American cotton farmers.
At a moment when India is enjoying record economic growth, Vidarbha’s four million cotton farmers who have been left behind, struggling to survive on less than Rs 100 a day. Kishor Tiwari, former businessman turned farmer advocate, whose tiny office in the heart of Vidarbha, the cotton-growing region, functions as the archive and watchdog for the suicide epidemic; traveling salesmen hawking genetically modified and costly - cotton seeds that require irrigation that few Vidarbha farmers have; the last rites of a farmer who couldn’t pay his debts; a tour of the poison ward at the local hospital, where beds are always filled; and even Rahul Gandhi, the prime minister in waiting pays a visit during the election ‘season’ whom the farming widows beseech for help in convincing the government to forgive their debts.
The farmers of Vidarbha are the target of the government, politicians and bureaucrats, for the reason they don’t know. On the event of International Labour Day and Maharashtra Day on May 1, 2011, over 300 cotton farmers went on a day-long hunger strike in Vidarbha demanding the lifting of the ban on cotton exports.
the prices of cotton and pulses (tur dal) have fallen by more than 50 per cent in the last month due to what he said “anti-farmer export-import policies” of the centre.“The present ban on cotton exports is to protect the textile lobby of south India which is very close to some central ministers like Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran. This is responsible for the crises, including falling prices, gripping cotton farmers in Vidarbha moreover it is reported that some bureaucrats were influenced by strong lobbying by the textile mill owners who wanted cheap raw material to increase their profit margins. It may be recalled that during December 2010, citing the upward trend in cotton and yarn prices, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi urged Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to suspend cotton exports and cap cotton yarn exports as well as levy an export duty on it with immediate effect. In a letter to Manmohan Singh, a copy of which was released to the media, Karunanidhi - referring to the central government’s permission to export 55 lakh bales from November onwards - said: “Between last week of September 2010 and the last week of November 2010, cotton prices have increased almost by 20 percent.Further hectic buying indulged in by the exporters of cotton has resulted in arrivals to the market being woefully inadequate to meet the domestic consumption”. “Normally the period of 4-5 months after October witness a dip in cotton prices owing to fresh arrivals in the market. However, this year, the clearance given for exporting 55 lakh bales of cotton has resulted in a hand to mouth situation by which virtually no cotton is available in the market to build up cotton stocks,” competing countries like China maintain a stock touse ratio of about 33 per cent as against India’s 17 per cent.Referring to the rise in cotton yarn prices due to increase in cottonexports, Karunanidhi has said yarn exports should be moderated so thatvalue addition is possible downstream, “…so as to enable higher production of powerloom cloth, knitwear, handloom cloth, garments etc.”
“The prices have plummeted to below Rs 4,500 a quintal during the lastfortnight from a high of Rs 7,000. The situation can be salvaged by hiking the export quota to 15 million cotton bales from the existing5.5 million,” alleged Tiwari.He pointed out that the export restrictions are shocking, especially when there is good demand for cotton in the global markets which the country exploit and the farmers can made good their losses of the past one decade.
“Floods have hit cotton crops in China and Pakistan while the crop area was slashed the US. It is a rare chance for the country to export cotton at very good prices. It is a mystery why the quota is not being increased this year when last year 8.3 million cotton bales (each bale at Rs 170 per kg) were exported.
“The prices of cotton and pulses (tur dal) had fallen by more than 50 per cent in the last month due to ‘anti-farmer export-import policies’ of the UPA government at Centre. He also alleged that the agricultural ministry led-by Sharad Pawar, is have their own hidden agenda and are in hand-in-gloves with racketeers controlling the cotton and food-grain market.The government, especially Sharad Pawar, is much interested in the ‘rich man’s game’ (cricket), which is watched by the industrialists,celebrities and rich politicians. They are not interested in the enlistment of farmers in Maharashtra, who are forced to commit suicide. They are interested in pouring money in to the valets of cricketers, deliberately forgetting the poor farmers.
He also alleged that the Union Minister, who is instrumental in raining money on the players, has done little to arrest the suicide of the farmers by solving their problems.
“The money the government and industrialists spends on cricket is only benefiting the players. It is not going to stop the farmers’ suicides, it is not going to solve the fertilizer shortage in the state and it will not solve the power and water shortage in the state,”. Entire Nation & the society atlarge is shocked with these unfortunate incidence of farmers’ suicides and Govt. of India have taken many steps in this regard but no actual benefits have been reached to the needy farmers.
In order to increase the productivity of farm produce and to give ultimate advantage to the farmers, Govt. of India through Ministry of Agriculture has introduced various programme in which National Food Security Mission (NFSM) is one of the major programme formulated to increase productivity of Tur – (Arhar) Tur Dal – Pulses and in turns to give farmers advantage of new MSP.
The details of the programe are as under :
National Food Security Mission (NFSM)
The primary focus of the NFSM is to ensure higher production and productivity of rice, wheat and pulses and to ensure enhanced incomes for farmers. At present, NFSM covers 476 districts across 17 States. Under a new initiative, the A3P (Accelerated Pulses Production Programme), one million hectares of potential areas for the major pulses crops – tur, urad, moong, gram and lentil – have been taken up for large scale demonstration of production and protection technologies in compact blocks. Apart from this, the Government also raised the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for pulses.
The MSP of Arhar (Tur) has been fixed at Rs. 3000 per quintal, of Moong at Rs. 3170 per quintal and of Urad at Rs.2900 per quintal, marking an increase of Rs. 700 per quintal, Rs. 410 per quintal and Rs. 380 per quintal, respectively over the last year’s MSPs. In addition, an additional incentive at the rate of Rs. 5 per kg for tur, urad and moong sold during the harvest/arrival period of two months to procurement agencies shall also be provided. The MSP of gram and Masur was also raised by Rs. 340 and Rs. 380 per quintal respectively.
Having seen the above scheme of Central Government to give better price for Tur – Arhar – Pulses, many farmers in the Pilot Projects’ districts in Vidarbha Region have opted for cultivation of Tur – Arhar – Pulses only with the hope that better MSP of Rs. 3000/- per quintal alongwith additional incentives of Rs. 500/- per quintal will be made available to them. Now, bumper crop & yield of Tur Dal – Arhar – Pulses have been arrived in Vidarbha region, a specially the districts covered under targeted programme of NFSM but due to failure of Central as well as State Governments no procurement centre have been opened so far and farmers are being suffered heavily as the rates of Rs. 2000/- to Rs. 2300/- per quintal is being offered to farmers for Tur – Arhar – Pulses. In rural areas, farmers are being exploitation to such an extent that the cartialization of private trader have reduced the rates to the bottom most extent @ Rs.1500/- per quintal.
This open exploitation of farmers is continued in the market where Government has declared Minimum Support Price of Rs. 3000/- per quintal plus additional incentives Rs. 500/- per quintal as assured by Govt. of India while promoting NFSM, but the farmers are being forced to sell their Tur – Arhar – Pulses produce in a throw away price of Rs. 2000/- per quintal. It is great injustice upon farmers and it is in turn causing great frustration & depression to the farmers which may again lead to more suicides if proper immediate steps are not taken in the interest of farmers at the earliest possible time.
At one stage the farmers are being exploited by not paying MSP on Tur – Arhar – Pulses on the other hand the customer atlarge across India are being forced to pay heavily for pulses. Means it double exploitation of the farmers as well as customers / consumers at large. But Governments, both Central & State, have become mute spectators unfortunately and therefore the kind intervention of Your Honor is invited in the interest of poor farmers as well as consumers at large.
In view of above, we hereby demand that :-
1-all restriction of cotton export should lifted immideitely
2. Pluses Crisis
- To issue suitable orders / directions to all authorities to protect Minimum Support Price of Tur – Arhar – Pulses @ Rs. 3000/- per quintal and the traders who all are exploiting the farmers may please be booked under the provisions of Essential Commodities Act read with provisions contended in various law governing Agriculture Support Price Mechanism.
- To issue suitable orders/ directions to start procurement centres of NAFED and/or TRIFED for procurement of Tur – Arhar – Pulses at MSP of Rs. 3000/- per quintal plus assured bonus / incentives of Rs. 500/- per quintal in all districts of Vidarbha region to protect the interest of farmers.
- To take all suitable steps to seize the stock of such Tur – Arhar – Pulses purchased by private traders in the prices below MSP by exploiting the farmers and compel them to pay as per MSP and to take suitable action against such traders who have been exploiting the farmers.
- To issue suitable compensation to the Tur – Arhar – Pulses cultivating farmers who have been deprived from the MSP and the incentives of Rs. 500/- per quintal as admissible from the scheme of Central Government for promotion of Tur – Arhar – Pulses under NFSM programme.
HENCE PRAYED ACCORDINGLY.
PRESIDENT - VIDARBHA JAN ANDOLAN SAMITI
CC to :
1. Her Highness Hon’ble President of India,
2. Hon’ble Shri Dr. Manmohan Singh,
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India,
Govt. of India, PMO, Raysina Hills, NEW DELHI.
3. Hon’ble His Highness Governor of Maharashtra State,
Rajbhavan, Malbar Hills Road,
Walkeshwar, Mumbai. 1.
4. Shri Sharadchandra Govindrao Pawar,
Hon’ble Agriculture & Food Minister,
Govt. of India, Krishi Bhavan,
Dr. R.P.Road, NEW DELHI.
5. Shri Prithviraj Chavan,
Hon’ble Chief Minister,
Govt. of Maharashtra,
Mantralaya, MUMBAI-440 032.
6. Shri Ratnakar Gaikwad, IAS
Hon’ble Chief Secretary,
Govt. of Maharashtra,
Mantralaya, MUMBAI-440 032.