Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Grand event for Thakre has Tiwari fuming
Publication: Times Of India Nagpur; Date: Aug 28, 2008;

Nagpur: A grand event slated for Friday at Yavatmal to welcome newly-appointed president of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee Manikrao Thakre has kicked off a controversy with farmers' leader Kishor Tiwari questioning the propriety of the lavish show in the district known as the epicentre of the farmers' suicide crisis in Vidarbha.

The function to be held at Azad Maidan will be attended by chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, new chairman of the Congress campaign committee Gurudas Kamat, Mumbai Congress' new chief Kripashankar Singh as well as MPCC's new working president Jayant Awale. It will be the first formal function in Vidarbha to welcome all the newly appointed state party leaders. Since Yavatmal is the home district of Thakre, the district's party unit has sought to host the function.

Criticising the Congress for holding the mega event, Tiwari, who is also the president of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, has threatened to storm the venue with a large number of widows of the farmers who have committed suicide. He has also threatened to take up the matter with AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi who brought into national focus the plight of widow Kalavati and farm labourer Shashikala in his parliamentary speech on July 22 during the trust vote debate.

But Thakre was unimpressed. "What's wrong with it? It's a party function and people of my district are welcoming me," he said. Talking to ToI from Mumbai on Wednesday, Thakre said the function stands and the chief minister and other dignitaries will be attending it. "Actually, I have no idea about the scale of arrangements for the function. But I expect it to be a normal party affair," said Thakre, justifying the event.

However, Tiwari thinks otherwise. "A grand function is being arranged and the Congress is mobilising lakhs of people to gather crowds for the extravaganza for which huge amount of money is being spent," said Tiwari. "This Congress event is nothing by rubbing salt on the wounds of the suicide-hit people of the district," said Tiwari in a press statement.

"Over a thousand farmers have committed suicide in Yavatmal district, largely because of the economic distress caused by the Congress-led government's wrong policy decisions relating to agriculture. But instead on providing a healing touch, the Congress is engaged in a wasteful show off of its strength," remarked Tiwari. He also claimed to have persuaded the Congress leaders from scaling down the event, but in vain.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pest attack in vidarbha destroyed standing soybean crop in 3.2 million hector :As per Govt. Survey total losses are more than Rs.500 crore


11, Trisaran Society, In front of Somalwar School, Kamala, Nagpur – 440 025

Tel No. (0712) 2282457 Mob No. 9422108846 / 9371137653 / 9373121947

(Regd Office : At Post : Pandharkawada-445 302, Tq : Kelapur, Distt : Yavatmal)

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Ref-Vidarbha Farm Crisis-2008 URGENT- PRESS-NOTE Dated-24th august,08

Pest attack in vidarbha destroyed standing soybean crop in 3.2 million hector :As per Govt. Survey total losses are more than Rs.500 crore

5 more Farm Suicides in vidarbha last three days –VJAS demands immediate relief

Nagpur-24th august 2008

Massive pest attack titled by administration in Marathi as “attack of lakshari kidi(soldier worm)” has literally eaten away the standing soybean crop in more than 3 million hector in vidarbha resulting five more farm suicides in last three ,identified as






Agriculture Commissioner of Maharashtra Prabhakar Deshmukh after touring east vidarbha has confirmed the huge losses and massive destruction due to pest attack which was beyond the control of any pest management now this “attack of lakshari kidi(soldier worm)” has shifted to cotton crop and cotton crop under 2.8 million hector are threat of destruction in vidarbha, Kishor Tiwari President Of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti informed in a press release.

Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti(VJAS) has urged Indian govt. to arrange the visit of expert to look in to fresh agriculture crisis and arrange for immediate relief aid to the farmers who lost soybean crop due to pest attack .VJAS also urged Maharashtra Govt. to provide minimum food security and health care and rural employment or direct subsidy to dying farmers in order to stop further suicides of already distressed vidarbha farmers, Kishor Tiwari who spoke to Maharashtra chief minister vilasrao deshmukh on phone today requested him to visit vidarbha and announce immediate relief to dying farmers.

Vidarbha is under severe agrarian crisis since June-2005 that after after drop in cotton prices due to dumping of highly subsidies US cotton in India in jan-2005 followed by withdrawal price protection under cotton monopoly scheme by Maharashtra Govt. of congress-NCP .Vidarbha is witnessing continuing farmer suicides despite the Prime Minister's 3,750 crore-rupee relief package as well as the 71,000 crore-rupee farm-loan waiver announced in the Budget as Govt. failed to save dying rural economy of the nation the cash crop of Indian farmers are in huge losses were as food crop cultivation is not being protected and promoted of due to ill interest of ministers and babus , kishor tiwari added.


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Yours faithfully,





Monday, August 18, 2008

vidarbha agrarian crisis-Lessons from Kalawati

Printed from

Lessons from Kalawati
19 Aug 2008,

M S S Pandian

In his parliamentary speech defending the Indo-US nuclear deal, Rahul Gandhi spoke repeatedly of Kalawati, a destitute Dalit woman from Vidarbha, whose husband, a cotton farmer, had committed suicide because of debts. What had impressed Rahul in Kalawati's life were her efforts at diversifying economic activities — rearing a buffalo and digging a pond — to save her family from hunger. Citing her story, he claimed, "Like her, we need to diversify into coal, hydro and nuclear energy so that we can survive."

For Rahul, Kalawati's story is primarily a metaphor for the need to diversify energy sources so as to achieve energy security. But the fact remains that Kalawati's struggle to survive by foraying into diverse economic activities has not yielded her any security. Her family has lived on a monthly budget of Rs 300 and survived on dal and roti. She has often gone without food so as to feed the rest of the family, and never had the money to buy vegetables. When the press met her the day after Rahul's speech, she had not eaten in two days. It is outside help that promised to change her life. In short, hers were acts of desperation and not a well thought out strategy of diversification.

The meaning that Rahul draws out of Kalawati's life might have been done in all earnestness. It may even have some message in defence of the Indo-US nuclear deal. Yet it misses the larger picture. It is a story about agrarian crisis, lack of food and social security and the miserable mate-rial condition of millions of Indians who subsist on a daily budget of Rs 20 or less.

If Rahul fails to recognise this larger picture of economic misery in Kalawati's story, it is not entirely his fault. It is partly because of the changed economic discourse in India. In the post-liberalisation phase, the health of the economy is being viewed primarily in terms of growth and the performance of the markets. While the prime minister and his colleagues repeatedly showcase 9 per cent growth as the proof of the government's success, television anchors bombard the viewers hour after hour with the performance of the Sensex. Questions on whether the growth is equitable or capable of generating employment — questions that are important for the poor — are being relegated to background.

Relying excessively on abstractions such as the growth rate or the performance of the markets has the effect of rendering the poor invisible. Kalawati's poignant story has shown how such abstractions are a meaningless mirage for most Indians and does not reflect their condition in any way. It is the thick description of what she and her family eat, how her children read without electricity, and the pathetic condition of her dwelling that discloses the misery which lies concealed behind abstract figures like growth rate.

What is more, such invisibility of the poor in the economic thinking is increasingly desensitising the urban rich to the misery of the other half. The claims of the poor for state intervention on their behalf is increasingly held up to ridicule. If in the past welfare of the poor was treated as a responsibility of the state, today it is derided as pointless subsidies. Even the mid-day meal schemes for schoolchildren and the subsidised PDS rice are no longer viewed as providing food security to the poor.

At a time when market fundamentalism has become the common sense of the political class, policy-makers and the urban rich, Kalawati invites us to take a re-look. When Kalawati was approached by the media, she pleaded that the government should help her. Is there any message for us from her act of seeking out the state to intervene? There indeed is. The market is faceless and heartless. It treats those without resources like Kalawati as dispensable. The message of the 1943 Bengal famine, which claimed more than 1.5 million lives, is precisely this. Most of those who died in the famine lacked exchange entitlements, i.e. resources that can be exchanged in the market.

Commitment to the poor is both an ethi-cal necessity and the responsibility of the state and civil society. Treating Kalawati's life either as exceptional or as a mere story of grit will not help us realise this.

The writer is a Chennai-based social scientist.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

12 farm suicides in four days in Vidarbha despite loan waiver

An unprecedented Rs.710 billion loan waiver has not stopped farm suicides in Vidarbha of Maharashtra with 12 such cases being reported in different parts of the region in the four days till the Independence Day.

Nagpur, Maharashtra, India, 2008-08-16 19:45:01 (

An unprecedented Rs.710 billion loan waiver has not stopped farm suicides in Vidarbha of Maharashtra with 12 such cases being reported in different parts of the region in the four days till the Independence Day.

Four suicides have occurred in Buldana, three in Amravati besides two in Yavatmal and one in Akola district of western Vidarbha whereas one each has been reported from Chandrapur and Wardha districts of southern Vidarbha, Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti president Kishor Tiwari has said.

Referring to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Independence Day speech highlighting the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government's priority to the agrarian sector and his appeal to the state governments to strengthen the public distribution system, Tiwari says in a letter to Manmohan Singh that though the reference was as impressive as the loan waiver, the measures have not as yet succeeded fully.

'The loan waiver largely remains on the paper because of the fund crunch being faced by the district central cooperative banks,' Tiwari told IANS adding that over a month-long dry spell in Vidarbha from the second half of June has forced many of them to do re-sowing and allied farm operations twice or thrice.

The relief announced by the state government to cover the farmers' extra costs due to re-sowing is woefully inadequate and that too is yet to be distributed, he pointed out.

'The farmers were also badly stressed because of the inadequate or spurious supply of fertilizers, particularly di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), and such factors combined with the state government's illogical eligibility criteria for the loan waiver and fresh credit and procedural delays drove farmers to private moneylenders again, making nonsense of the 'whopping' loan waiver and a fresh credit plan of the government that has dazzled the world,' Tiwari said.

The latest 12 suicides have taken this year's toll in Vidarbha to 534, Tiwari said, quoting from the figures available on the state government website.

Yavatmal district collector Sanjay Deshmukh, however, contested the claims of the VJAS leader and pointed out that over Rs.1.30 billion worth fresh loans have so far been extended to farmers in the district, a big chunk of which came from the district cooperative bank (DCC).

'Even the nationalized banks have given loans to farmers who presented no-objection certificates from the DCC branches that were unable to advance loan,' Deshmukh told IANS.

Supporting Deshmukh, the Maharashtra government's Principal Secretary (Cooperatives) Sudhir Goyal told IANS that NABARD had provided enough funds to the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank to help the cash-strapped DCCs.

- Indo Asian News Service

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