For Dabhadi, Modi’s Cup of Tea is still Empty
Ashish Roy,TNN | Mar 13, 2015, 03.22 AM IST
NAGPUR: He came, he saw, he promised a lot but nothing changed on the ground. This is the summary of prime minister Narendra Modi's visit to Yavatmal district's Dabhadi village last March when he was still campaigning for the post. The 'Chai pe Charcha' for Vidarbha region was held in this village. It was slated to be held at Bhamora, 16 km from here, but incumbent chief minister Devendra Fadnavis decided to hold it in Dabhadi because maximum number of farmers had committed suicide here.
After all the fanfare, the residents had expected some preferential treatment but they got it wrong. Unable to pay his debts, Dabhadi resident Dilip Dike had committed suicide over ten years ago. His family got the government compensation after nine months and his widow Mira got a job at the local anganwadi. Modi met Mira, her two children and Dilip's mother before 'Chai pe Charcha' last March. He promised to take care of the children's education but no help has materialized yet.
"Modi should have kept his word. My son wanted to go for engineering but I don't have the money for that. He is resigned to do B.Sc. My daughter too wanted to pursue further education provided it got her a job but she is getting married this May," said a disillusioned Mira Dike. She has to arrange Rs1 lakh for her daughter Sneha's marriage.
Sneha told TOI, "Modi asked us about my father and whether we were facing difficulties in making ends meet. He promised to take care of our education. We don't want money. If he gets my brother educated for free, we will be grateful." Aniket Dike's B.Sc education is a drain on the family. Even though his mother's salary at anganwadi is Rs2,500, she gets only Rs1,500. They don't know where the remaining Rs 1,000 goes. To make things worse, she doesn't get her salary regularly. They get some income from the farm but that is meagre.
There are four other families in Dabhadi, whom Modi had met last year. Their story no different, villagers say. Sarpanch Santosh Take says, "There is no positive change in spite of the tall promises. The farmers have not been given any help. MP Hansraj Ahir adopted this village but the benefits remain on paper."
Vitthal Rathod, a 45-year-old farmer of this village, committed suicide on February 24. The villagers are angry with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. "He had come to Yavatmal last week. He should have at least met the Rathod family members. How could he forget he had chosen this village for 'Chai pe Charcha' and had lunch along with 300 BJP men in this village," asked Madhavrao Khode.
Rathod's daughter Maya said her father was unable to pay off loans from a moneylender and other villagers. "This year the kharif crop was completely ruined due to drought. His creditors were hounding him for money. He felt he wouldn't be able to pay off his loan and committed suicide," the distraught girl said. Some help did come after the tragedy. Local Shiv Sena MLA Sanjay Rathod gave Rs25,000 and the local BJP unit gave a Rs10,000 cheque.
A villager said other than paying off his loans, Rathod worried a lot about getting his two daughters married. "He was unable to figure out how to arrange Rs1.5 to Rs 2 lakh needed. He only had 2.5 acre land and could not sell a part of it without ruining his livelihood. His son Ram earns Rs200 a day driving a tractor but he doesn't get work regularly," the Dabhadi resident said.
Madhavrao Khode said that the village's farmers were in a bad shape because of policies of government. Our problems are power supply, irrigation and farm product prices. "Cotton is currently selling at Rs3,800 per quintal which means a loss. The price should be Rs6,000 per quintal if a farmer has to make ends meet.
"The agricultural pumps get power supply only at night between 11pm to 9am. How can we do farming? The farm owner is ready to do it but labourers are not available," he pointed out.
On irrigation, he said the village received water from a canal of Arunvati dam but it was inadequate. "The canal lining is so bad that a large portion of water is lost to seepage. It does not reach the end of the canal. This year rains failed and we didn't get any water," he added.