Feb 21 2016 : The Times of India (Mumbai)
`Babus' insensitivity to blame for agri suicides'
Veteran farmers' leader and head of the special task force set up by the state government Kishore Tiwari on Saturday said BJP's first Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's ambitious plan to tackle the worst-ever agrarian crisis and halt farmers' suicides has failed to take off owing to rampant corruption at all levels, lack of supervision and above all an “insensitive bureaucracy .“Alarmed by the sudden spurt in farmers' suicides in 14 districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada, Fadnavis had appointed Tiwari, who had taken up the cause of farmers, to draft an action plan to tackle drought and halt suicides. “Ever since I took over as head of the special task force, I found there is absolutely no accountability and there is lack of seriousness and rampant corruption at all levels; as a result, despite the CM's best efforts we have not been able to reduce farmers' suicides in the 14 districts,'' Tiwari told TOI.
Tiwari said since the CM was well aware of the gravity of the situation, he entrusted the task of implementing schemes for the welfare of farmers to IAS officers of the rank of principal secretary . “Principal secretaries were appointed for all tehsils in the suicideprone districts. Owing to their casual approach, all districts have witnessed more suicides than ever before. They did visit the suicide-prone tehsils, but there was absolutely no seriousness and they never took up the new assignment seriously ,“ Tiwari said.
Tiwari said neither the district administration nor high-ranking bureaucrats made any attempt establish a dialogue with the farmers in distress, as all along, they were busy in their own protocol, vehicles and arrangements for stay . “Whenever there was a visit of a principal secretary , the entire district ad ministration was running after him. During his visit, the administration would come to a standstill,“ Tiwari said.
Secondly , Tiwari found that during his official tour of the suicide-prone districts, not a single official was present at the tehsil or district headquarters; as a result, there was no redressal of grievances raised by farmers.“Village and tehsil-level officers were not present in their offices. At the district-level offices too, the situation was more or less similar,“ he said.
On the health and education front, the situation was more shocking, he said, as in most village, tehsil and district-level hospitals, there was no staff. “Doctors as well as paramedical staff were never seen in hospital.Specific cases of dereliction of duty were brought to the notice of the state health secretary and health minister,“ he said.
Tiwari said on the one hand, the CM was taking credit for the Rs 9 lakh crore of investments during the Make in India week and on the other, his government was unable to provide even basic infrastructure to tackle the agrarian crisis and halt farmers' suicides.