The Times of India -Breaking news,
28 Oct 2007, 0205 hrs IST,TNN
NAGPUR: Even as the state government appointed another panel, headed by economist Narendra Jadhav, to study reasons for Vidarbha farmers' suicides, seven more farmers from the region have ended their lives in the last 48 hours. The panel would also review the impact of prime minister's Rs 3,750 crore relief package announced last year for the six farmers' suicide-hit districts of Vidarbha.
Those farmers who ended their lives in the last two days include: Rajesh Kirnapure (Bhandara), Arun Gawai (Buldhana), Subhash Jadhav, Ramkant Bobade (both Amravati), Kisan Jadhav (Yavatmal), Dashrath Sulakhe (Gondia) and Pundlik Hige (Wardha), the Vidarabha Jan Andolan Samiti has claimed.
According to the samiti the number of distressed farmers committing suicide after the announcement of PM's package has reached 1,765, with the figure reaching 968 this year alone.
Prior to the appointment of Jadhav Committee, the government had appointed seven fact finding panels earlier to study Vidarbha farmers' suicides. The panels included the ones represented by Tata Institute of Social Studies, Indira Gandhi Institute of Developmental Studies, National Farmers Commission, Planning Commission, Yashada (Pune), Gokhale Institute (Pune) and Maharashtra Government's Mega Study report. This apart even 46 universities and institutes have tried to review the situation and come out with their reports.
According to VJAS convenor Kishor Tiwari, "The government has done little and acted rarely on the reports of the various committees appointed earlier. If the government does not implement any recommendations made earlier by various committees, then it seems of no use to appoint another committee to work out the solutions of agrarian crisis and now all such initiatives seem ridiculous."
VJAS has claimed that the Mantralaya officials were busy making fresh recommendations to the prime minister's office to modify relief package for Vidarbha farmers. Citing media reports, Tiwari said that the state government was once again strongly recommending interest waiver on the outstanding crop loan of cotton farmers of western Vidarbha not the pending debt of three million distressed farmers. This, alleged Tiwari, was an effort to rejuvenate dying cooperative banks by politically influential people instead of an effort to save the dying cotton farmers of western Vidarbha.
"Loan waiver is part of the relief but not a complete solution to Vidarbha agrarian crisis. The issues related to the cotton price and sustainable farming along with Food Crop Promotion Programme has to be implemented.