|Publication:Times Of India Nagpur;||Date:Dec 18, 2007;||Section:Times Nagpur;||Page Number:5|
'Relief for farmers virtually stopped'
Nagpur: The year 2007 has recorded the most number of farmer suicides in Vidarbha. The number have just been on the rise as the financial relied which was supposed to be provided for the debtridden farmers has virtually been stopped due to lack of funds, Kishore Tiwari, president of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), said. VJAS claimed that the farmers' suicide toll has reached 1,168 in Vidarbha this year.
Prime minister Manmohan Singh had announced a Rs 3,750 crore package in July last year, which was to be distributed by the collectors of each of the six farmers suicide-hit district. Tiwari claimed that though some amount was released last year, this year saw nothing in the collector's kitty to be distributed among the needy. The situation worsened due to apathetic attitude of the Maharashtra government and PMO, he said.
The farmers suicide issue was hotly debated in the winter session of the Parliament and Maharashtra legislative assembly, without actually giving any relief to the three million farmers of west Vidarbha, where over 20,000 farmers' suicides was recorded by the national crime data reports since 1997.
The cotton farmers were expecting a complete loan waiver and Rs 2,000 per hectare compensation, as it was indicated earlier by Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. But the decision has been pending till now, Tiwari said.
VJAS has urged the Maharashtra government to provide food, health security and employment opportunities to the dying Vidarbha farmers as a social support and healthcare system is missing, Tiwari said.