VIDARBHA JAN ANDOLAN SAMITI
11, Trisaran Society, In front of Somalwar School, Khamla, Nagpur – 440 025
Ref-Vidarbha Farm Crisis-2007 PRESS-NOTE Deated-1st Sep.2007
FIVE MORE FARMERS COMMITS SUICIDE DURING DAY VISIT PRIME MINISTER'S MAHRASHRASHTRA
SHARAD PAWAR'S VERSION THAT-"PM HAPPY WITH PACKAGE IMPLEMENTATION-VIDARBHA AGRARIAN CRISIS IS MEDIA HOAX" IS MISLEADING-KISHOR TIWARI
PRIME MINISTER IGNORED MAIN DEMANDS OF COTTON FARMERS OF VIDARBHA
Nagpur-1st September 2007
When prime minister was reviewing vidarbha farmers relief package five cotton farmers identified as natthu zale(buldhana),rakesh bambal(akola),dadarao choudhari (amaravati), zoba bhise (amaravati) and ashanna sherkurwar(yavatmal) suicides were reported taking the official tally to 784 since jan.2007 and 1648 since prime minister released the package to stop this on going farm suicides in west vidarbha,kishor tiwari of vidarbha jan andolan samiti informed in nagpur today.
SHARAD PAWAR VERSION ON FARM SUICIDES IS UNTRUE
Today first time Indian agriculture has officially defended Maharashtra govt. on vidarbha farmers suicides issue but his version that Indian prime minister was happy with implementation of vidarbha and situation is under control and it's media has over hyped the issue is misleading in fact prime minister has shown his serious concern over massive pathetic reports in national and international media from dying fields of vidarbha and was very much upset with CAG reports large scale corruption and malpractices in the implementation of package. he was unhappy with proposal submitted by state govt. in NDC in which administration failed to address this agrarian crisis and he has asked for fresh proposals for tackling vidarbha agrarian crisis along with modification to existing relief package ,kishor tiwari added in his press release . the condition is much more pathetic and serious that is has been reported in the media as sharad has not visited any farm family (due to ICC-BCCI work load) till date he is not aware of ground relity,kishor tiwari added.
Prime minister has Maharashtra govt. to look into proposals given by planning commission and experts to stop on goping farm suicides in west vidarbha but vidarbha farmers were expecting loan waiver announcement from Indian prime minister this time and restoration of cotton price to rs.2700/- under cotton monopoly scheme but neither he met activist nor media persons this may trigger another spiral of mass suicide of vidarbha cotton farmers,kishor tiwari feared.
We are arranging mass agitation from 2nd October to demand complete loan waiver and price to the cotton at the rate of rs.2700/- per quintal,kishor tiwari announced today.
When VJAS activist failed to get 5 minutes meeting with Indian prime minister then they mailed the request letter to him ,text of the representation is
VIDARBHA JAN ANDOLAN SAMITI
11, Trisaran Society, In front of Somalwar School, Khamla, Nagpur – 440 025
Ref No. VJAS/PM//1291/2007 31st August, 2007
Dr. Shri Manmohan Singh,
Hon'ble Prime Minister of India
PMO, North Block,
Rajpath, New Delhi – 110 001.
CAMP AT MUMBAI / NAGPUR (State of Maharashtra).
Sub : 1) CONTINUED PLIGHT OF FARMERS SUICIDES
IN VIDARBHA REGION OF MAHARASHTRA STATE :
IDENTIFIED CAUSES OF FARMERS SUICIDE IN THE FAMILIES WITH EXTREME DISTRESS & WITH SERIOUS ILLNESS CATEGORIES AND TOTAL FAILURE OF STATE ADMINISTRATION TO PROVIDE IMMEDIATE RELIEF TO THESE IDENTIFIED FAMILIES UNDER PM FARMERS' PACKAGE.
REF: Survey Report dated 15th June, 2006 conducted by the Government of Maharashtra's Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swawlamban Mission at Amravati in connection with the Farmers' plight
Hon'ble Prime Minister Sir,
It is deeply regretted that even after our efforts to meet you personally to handover the representation, we have not been given opportunity by the State Govt. / State Administration for the reasons best known to them.
We, therefore, are constraint to mail this representation to Your Honour for your immediate action for the redressal of hardship and plight of the crisis ridden farmers in the Vidarbha Region.
First of all, we are pleased to extend our heart felt thanks that you have considered it necessary to visit Maharashtra State for the specific purpose of reviewing the Packages for the Farmers in the crisis ridden Vidarbha Region. We are submitting this Memorandum for your kind consideration as under :
This is further to our various representations in connection with the subject matter cited above, now we are once again submitting this humble representation with kind prayer to intervene in the continued grave plight of Farmers in light of unpresented & unfortunate situation arising out of hundreds of suicides committed by distressed farmers in the Cotton Cultivating Belt of West Vidarbha Region of State of Maharashtra. The gross failure of the State Administration even to take the cognizance of the Survey Report referred above, in which the information pertaining to farmers' families in distress and with the extreme illness have not been attended by the State Administration even after 14 months from the Survey conducted in June, 2006.
Hon'ble Prime Minister Sir, Your Honour is well aware that our organization – Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti - is following the issue since last almost 9 years on the basis of the ground study & analysis of each and every case of unfortunate suicides of the farmers in different villages of Western Vidarbha Region of Maharashtra State. You have been receiving our e-mails, letters, memorandums almost daily since Your Honour occupied the Apex Post in the Union Government.
While reviewing the success of implementation of the PMO Package for Farmers, it must be admitted that it has totally failed to provide any immediate help to those farmers' families in the category of "Farmers Families in Extreme Distress" (total families 4,34,291) and "Farmers Families with extreme illness" (total families 92,456), though the complete data of which is available in the Report of the Survey conducted by Govt. of Maharashtra in June, 2006.
We all are very well aware that though the issue is complex and is the overall effect of various factors governing it, still we have few points to be highlighted for your immediate action in the interest of dying farmers, apart from the various long term measures suggested by various agencies including the High Power Committee appointed by Your Government under the Chairmanship of Hon'ble Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, Former Chairman of National Commission of Farmers & the Father of Green Revolution in the country.
We are highlighting these points on the very basis of the above referred document, which is the Survey Report dated 15th June, 2006 conducted by the Government of Maharashtra's Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swawlamban Mission at Amravati in connection with the Farmers' plight and also reflected in the report submitted Dr. M.S. Swaminathan Committee.
Hon'ble PM Sir, it is evident from the Survey Document that the farmers 'in extreme distress' as mentioned in the column 9 of the Survey Chart are 4,34,291 and the farmers families suffering from serious illness are 92,456.
The detailed survey was conducted by the said Government Controlled Mission at Amravati under the guidance of Divisional Commissioner at Amravati, in the 8351 Villages of 6 Districts of Vidarbha comprising of Yavatmal, Amravati, Akola, Buldhana, Washim & Wardha in which 17,64,438 families were surveyed by the Mission.
On the basis of the in-depth study and analysis conducted by our organization, out of such a huge numbers of families from those surveyed villages, we would like to draw your immediate attention towards the column No. 8 & 9 pertaining to the farmers in extreme distress and farmers with serious illness as stated above.
THE FACTS & OUR EXPERIENCE :
Hon'ble Sir, in majority of cases of farmers suicides, we came to know that there is no food or medicine available to them and this plight has continued to result the extreme step of suicide by the said farmer and / or its family members.
Now, it is imperative on the part of the Union of India and State of Maharashtra that this known factors / points are to be attended to immediately so that these two class of farmers families i.e. the Farmers in Extreme Distress and Farmers Suffering from Serious Illness need to be attended immediately to remediate the plight of such farmers on the verge of committing suicides. It is regretted that the State Administration has miserably failed to attend these two known categories even though these required immediate relief measures to control the unfortunate incidents of suicides.
1) NEED OF FOOD SECURITY TO Farmers in Extreme Distress –
Identified Families : 4,34,291.
CAUSES IDENTIFIED :
After visiting the families of the farmers which committed suicides, we came to know that there was no food even sufficient for 2 days in the houses of such farmers. These unfortunate facts of non-availability of Food or money to buy food grain and / or the medicine, resulted in the ultimate sad and unfortunate incident of suicide by the said farmers who were unable to face the agony and distress of such unfortunate plight of indirect hunger and ultimate starvation of the family members including small children and old parents.
REMEDY SUGGESTED :
The Union of India through State of Maharashtra is providing food grain at the subsidized rate to the BPL families amongst the farm / landless labours. In order to stop the indirect hunger and starvation of these 4,34,291 Identified 'Families in Extreme Distress', most of them are small farmers of which the economic condition is not above the landless labourers (Col No. 9 of the Survey Chart), State of Maharashtra to provide 25 Kg of Food grain per month at the subsidized price @ Rs. 3 – 5 per kg under the PDS and/or any other special scheme to be announced at least for a period of 18 months now onwards. This will immediately result in providing direct food help to the 4,34,291 Identified Families in Extreme Distress and the indirect starvation of such families can be stopped so that the ultimate effect which is leading to the unfortunate suicide of the farmer family can be stopped, once the hunger and the indirect starvation of such families is attended to.
Farmers families suffering from Serious Illness –
Identified Families : 92,456.
CAUSES IDENTIFIED :
After visiting the families of the farmers which committed suicides, we also came to know that there was no medicine in the houses of such farmers where the family members are seriously ill or suffering from such diseases. The non-availability of medicine or money to buy food grain and / or the medicine, resulted in the ultimate sad and unfortunate incident of suicide by the said farmers who were unable to face the agony and distress of such unfortunate plight of indirect sufferings due to illness, hunger and ultimate starvation of the family members including small children and old parents.
REMEDY SUGGESTED :
The State is providing medical / health services to BPL families at the subsidized rate amongst the farm / landless labourers. In order to stop the indirect plight due to serious illness coupled with hunger and starvation of these 92,456 Identified Farmers Families with Serious Illness, most of them are small farmers of which the economic condition is not above the landless labourers (Col No. 8 of the Survey Chart), State of Maharashtra to provide Special BPL / Health Cards to such families so that they get the subsidized health care in Government run hospitals at par with the landless labourers or BPL families. This will immediately help in providing direct health care to the 92,456 Identified Families with Serious Illness and in Extreme Distress and which can help to stop the unfortunate suicide of the farmer families with serious illness.
Other IMPORTANT causes NEEDS PMO's IMMEDIATE ATTENTION :
1. INADEQUATE AND POOR AVAILABILITY OF CREDIT FACILITIES TO THE FARMERS :-
It has been observed that the financial Institutions mainly Nationalized Banks are not providing credit facilities to farmers as per their actual needs. The scale of finance is extremely discriminatory. In Western Maharashtra, farmers are getting upto Rs.2,00,000/- per Hectare Crop Credit, but in Vidarbha it is extremely poor, not even Rs.10,000/- per Hectare. It is mockery of Credit Policy and Govt. Control thereon. The banks are not carrying out the periodic review exercise for increasing the scale of finance. In some cases it is observed that though the farmers are eligible for increment in scale of finance, but it is not made available merely for the reason of the extra staff / manpower for the purpose of documentation and credit papers at bank is not provided by the Regional Offices of the Banks. For want of such bank documentation and paper works, the farmers are denied the fresh incremental loans / credit facilities even though they are eligible for enhanced credit facilities. This is indirectly causing great hardships to the farmers and they have been denied the enhanced scale of finance / credit facilities for the failure of banks to revise the documentation or papers. Thus, inadequate and poor availability of credit facilities to the farmers is the main reason of exploitation of the farmers community at the hands of private money lenders / sahukars, who all are charging exorbitant rate of interest for such short term crop loan / credit made available to farmers by such sahukars. This is ultimately resulting in the unfortunate incidents of farmers' suicide across the Vidarbha Region.
All the Nationalized banks be strictly advised / ordered to have extra manpower / staff for documentation and / or the paper work for reviewing and revising the scale of finance / credit facilities to the farmers as per their eligibility. The Banks be advised / instructed / ordered to make suitable computer software for the purpose of assessment and documentation for providing the new scale of finance / credit facilities to the farmers, which is being denied due to manual / lengthy / time killing and labourious documentation system presently being implemented in the Banks and could not be effectively made operational for want of staff / manpower and infrastructure in the Rural Sector Branches of the Banks. The farmers who have been denied the new scale of finance be given additional finances / credit facilities by extending the last date for such short term of loan. The forms / formats for credit facilities to the farmers be revised in such way that the time consumed in lengthy documentation can be avoided at the time of the review / revision of the credit limits on account of enhancement in the scale of finance, to the advantage of farmers as well as banks. It is unfortunate that the banks have not done computerization alongwith other infrastructures / net working for the agricultural sector and as such the benefits arising out of the advantages of new generation techniques / networking is being denied to the farmers especially in the Rural Vidarbha.
2. SUPPORT PRICE OF COTTON TO BE ENHANCED TO RS.2,700/- PER QUINTAL AND MONOPOLY COTTON PURCHASE SCHEME TO BE IMPLEMENTED :-
It has been observed that the rate of cotton has not been increased as compared to the cost of input. It is not viable to sell cotton below Rs.2,700/- per quintal but since the support price is much below, the cotton purchasing agencies are not giving any rise and the rates are maintained just to the level of Rs.2,100/- per quintal maximum even though the national / international market rates are much much above. The increment in the minimum support price to the level of Rs.2,700/- per quintal alongwith monopoly guaranteed cotton purchase scheme is the effective need of the hour. The farmers need support of the price as well as guaranteed purchase scheme other wise market players will exploit them and the unfortunate incidents of farmers suicides will continue unending and our civilized country will face an awkward position in the world.
The minimum support price of the cotton be increased immediately to Rs.2,700/- per quintal. State Controlled Cotton Procurement Centers be started immediately from the first day & date of arrival of cotton crop to avoid exploitation of the farmers at the hands of Private Players in the Cotton Trade.
3. UNCONTROLLED & UNRESTRICTED Sale OF BOGUS & DUPLICATE SEEDS :- It has been observed that Bogus & duplicate seeds being sold to poor and illiterate farmers due to Non implementation by the Govt. of Maharashtra of the Seed Control Order, 1983 issued under Sec. 3 of Essential Commodities Act, 1955 to arrest and control the big wig seed trades and manufacturers. This massive corruption in sale of duplicate & bogus seeds has resulted in cheating of the farmer and increasing of debt due to improper farm yield because of poor and bogus quality of seeds being sold freely due to apathy of State Government. This has indirectly resulted the unfortunate suicide of the farmers who lost their crops due to poor quality of seeds being provided to them in lack of proper administrative control by the agriculture department quality & input of the seeds which otherwise could have been possible due to the stringent provisions contended in the seed control order, 1983 of Essential Commodities Act, 1955 if implemented in its true spirit & meaning. This failure on a part of State of Maharashtra to control the quality & input of seeds is one of the prime cause for the overall cheating and exploitation of the poor and illiterate farmers residing in the villages.
For immediate control of quality & input of seeds, it is high time that the State of Maharashtra be ordered by Union of India to implement the provisions of Seed Control Order 1983 and to instruct to issue delegation of power to its inspecting officer for control of quality & input seeds as required under sec. 12 of the Seed Control Order of Essential Commodities Act, 1955 which is the prime tool for the control of quality & input of seeds.
4. High cost of BT cotton seeds :-
It has also been observed that the farmers are not being given proper advice and training by the Government of Maharashtra in Department of Agriculture since last several years. The costly and improper BT cotton seeds which are not suitable for dry land farming is being freely propagated and sold at a very high cost of Rs. 2000/- to Rs. 3600/- Per Kg of BT cotton seeds, cost of which is virtually killing the farmers due to high input cost and low yield.
REMEDIES SUGGESTED :
There must be the blanket ban on BT cotton seeds in the dry land farming areas. This has to be done immediately in order to save the farmers from undue exploitation and cheating. There must be ban on sale and mis leading advertisement of BT cotton seeds in the dry land areas of Maharashtra where such seeds are not useful for cultivation of cotton due to the high cost of input as compared to the yield. The so called upgrade technology is killing the farmers. So immediate steps may please be initiated by the Union of India in this regard to stop free trials and sales of GM and BT seeds to protect the farmer community at large.
5. YOUR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION IS REQUIRED TOWARDS FOLLOWING RELIEFS:-
A) The Interest Remission Scheme under Package has not been implemented properly by the State Government. The benefit of concessional rate of interest and also of interest remission has not reached to the Thousands of Farmers. Only Banks have been benefited. In Restructuring of Loans, Banks are tactfully exploiting the Farmers. The higher rate of interest is charged & in no case the concessions have been passed on to the farmers. The amount of Rs. 800 Crores have been shown as spent for the interest remission, but it has benefited only to the sick co-operative Banks and Nationalised Banks to clear their NPA on account of crop loans defaults.
B) The amounts spent on accelerated irrigation Development Programme has benefited only to the contractors of Irrigation for clearing their old dues. The amount so far spent is shown as Rs. 780 Crores, but it has given benefits to contractors and even no long term irrigation benefit in sight for the farmers, because only routine old work is going on even after spending Rs. 780 Cr.. The officers are enjoying. Farmers are dying. Please review it by heart.
C) The Subsidy actually meant for farmers for developing Cold Chain and Cold Storage / Warehousing should be made available only to the farmers and the Farmers Group and not to the Corporates – Companies – Multinationals like Walmart, Trumart, Reliance, ITC, Subhiksha, Birla, Godrej, TATA, Hindustan Lever, DLF, etc. etc., otherwise the basic purpose of providing Food Processing subsidies / Infrastructure benefits to farmers for Value Addition will be defeated and if given to the Corporates, the basic advantage to the farmers will be taken away for want of proper statute to control such lapses.
D) The subsidy on fertilizers be passed on to actual farmers / users instead of the fertilizer manufacturing corporates.
E) To promote use of bio-fertilisers, Union Ministry of Agriculture had set up Directorate of Bio-fertilisers having Regional Centers across the country to educate the farmers about use of Bio-Fertilizers. However, now this Directorate is changed to Directorate of Organic Farming and the whole thrust of the Regional Centres have now shifted to Organic Farming being propogated without proper Infrastucture & Market Support to the Organic Farming Sector. Union of India should separate out Organic & Bio-Fertiliser Wings to function independently. So that the basic purpose of Bio-Fertiliser and Organic Farming be protected in its true sense & meaning.
F) Farmers in the extreme distress categories may please be provided with free education facility to their wards.
G) Special Schemes for promotion of Food Crop Farming and natural farming may please be introduced with the attractive schemes of subsidies for food crop farming and natural / low budget farming.
H) The farm sector insurance companies be advised / directed to settle the claims of farmers in stipulated time period of 30 days.
I) The Contract Farming is being implemented with a help to corporate and multi nationals. The farmers interest is not protected at all. Proper legislation be enacted to regulate & control the contract farming to protect the interest of small farmers.
J) Food Processing Policy of Union Ministry of Food Processing be simplified in such a way that the illiterate farmers will get direct advantage out of it.
P R A Y E R
Hon'ble Sir, in view of above, it is humbly prayed that Your Honour will arrange to pass appropriate orders / directions / instructions to the concerned authorities of the Union of India and State of Maharashtra, on the subject matter referred above, in the interest of justice to Farmers in Distress.
Hon'ble Sir, we hope to get justice AT LAST…………… !
For VIDARBHA JAN ANDOLAN SAMITI
CC submitted to :
Her Highness Hon'ble President of India, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Raisena Hills, New Delhi
Hon'ble Governor, Govt. of Maharashtra, Raj Bhavan, Mumbai.
Hon'ble Union Minister for Agriculture & Food – Civil Supply,
Govt. of India, Krishi Bhavan, New Delhi.
Copy to :
1. Hon'ble Chief Minister, Govt. of Maharashtra Mantralaya Mumbai-32.
2. Hon'ble Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra Mantralaya Mumbai-32.
3. Hon'ble Principal Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra,
Deptt.of Relief & Rehabilitation, Mantralaya Mumbai-32.
4. Hon'ble Addl. Divisional Commissioner & Head of VNSSM at Amravati,
Pleae arrange to release this press note
For VIDARBHA JAN ANDOLAN SAMITI