Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Vidarbha Agrarian Crisis is due to Govt.apathy -PTI

Food security, interest-free loans, income support demanded for vidarbha farmers

PTI | 11:11 AM,Nov 29,2011


Vidarbha farmers Nagpur, Nov 29 (PTI) The Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS) which has been working for distressed peasants in the suicide prone Vidarbha region, has demanded free healthcare, secondary income support and interest-free crop loan for dryland farmers. "VJAS has urged Maharashtra New Chief Minister Prhitiviraj Chavan to address the long pending demands of Vidarbha farmers. The most important issue of cotton growers which needs to be attended is compensation for wet drought and crop failure due to record rain and revision in cotton minimum support prices, which has remained unchanged since 2008 even when cost of cultivation has tripled in last two years," its president Kishore Tiwari said. Irrigation facilities in these areas would not cross 20 per cent of total agriculture land.
Hence there is an urgent need to make water conservation a mass movement. Approach of water conservation at village level would be the most effective solution, Tiwari told PTI. The NGO has been monitoring the farmer suicides in Vidarbha and has been on the forefront placing their demands before the government. The VJAS has demanded re-structure of loan for 2011-12, since DCC banks can not raise more than 1250 crore. An additional Rs 1500 crore needs to be provided for disbursement of crop loan. Also, de-silting of Malgujari (local private tanks) and minor storage tanks should to be undertaken by using special time bound programme to stop suicidal tendencies of farmers in the region, it said. Tiwari alleged that the Maharashtra government in December 2008 had decided to implement the recommendations of a high-power committee headed by Vice-Chancellor of Pune University, Dr Narendra Jadhav and had promised to provide food, health care and free education to children of 4.34 lakh farmers in distress from the suicide-prone districts of Amravati, Akola, Yavatmal, Buldhana, Washim and Wardha remedies on the farmers' plight, instead of providing relief to dying farmers, the then Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had in November 2007 set up a one-member panel headed by Jadhav to suggest ways to arrest farmers' suicides in the Vidarbha region when it was quite aware of the gravity of the issue of grave situation of farmers in the cotton growing belt of Vidarbha, he said. VJAS pointed out that in majority of farmer suicide cases, it has come to light that there was no food or medicine available to them which led to the extreme step. Tiwari said the Jadhav Committee has accepted the suggestions given by the VJAS and recommended that all the nationalised banks be strictly advised or directed to review the scale of finance and accordingly have extra sufficent staff for documentation for reviewing and revising the scale of finance/ credit facilities to farmers as per their eligibility.

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