Thursday, July 28, 2011

Now, she wants to write about farmers' agonies-TIMES OF INDIA

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Now, she wants to write about farmers' agonies

NAGPUR: In 1998 Ramdas Ambarwar, a farmer at Telang Takli village in Kelapur taluka of Yavatmal district, committed suicide unable to bear the piling debt burden. He was the only bread-earner and with his death the world came crashing down for his widow Saraswati and four daughters. Their youngest daughter, Manju, was just over five then. Since that day, life has been an endless struggle for the Ambarwar family.

For Manju, now 19, Wednesday brought a ray of hope as she secured admission in journalism course of Nagpur University. "I want to pursue journalism. That way I can chronicle life and times of Vidarbha farmers. As the daughter of a farmer who committed suicide, I have seen it all from close quarters and suffered every moment," Manju told TOI. She wants to sensitize people and the government about the miserable conditions in which farmers depending on vagaries of nature and mercy of policymakers have to live.

"After father's death, mother had to look after the farming work and also run the family. She did not buckle down and gave us all strength to get along in life. She arranged for marriage of two of my elder sisters Sushma and Meenakshi after they had studied up to Class XII. My third sister, Jayshree, was in XII when a serious kidney ailment struck her. Mother wanted her to pursue a professional course as she was a science student. But Jayshree could not survive. Another of my mother's dream was shattered," said Manju. The already distressed family could hardly afford the costly medical treatment and got into even more financial trouble.

Amid all this, the youngest sibling continued her studies. After primary education in the village, she went to nearby Umri to study up to XII and then commuted daily by ST bus to Pandharkawda for the college. This year she graduated in arts. Visibly happy after securing admission to bachelor of mass communication course at the University campus here, she feels she is a step closer to her ambition of being a journalist. "As a kid, I was impressed by the reporters who regularly visited our home to write about farmer suicides in Yavatmal district. I made up my mind to be a journalist and write on the issue from my personal experience of pain and sufferings," said Manju.

"I remember, soon after father's suicide the then chief minister Narayan Rane came to our village. At a function organized to hand over compensation cheque of Rs 1 lakh several promises for welfare of farmers were made. Among the promises that were never kept was the one providing free education for children of farm suicide victims," she recalled.

"Thank god for the grit and courage of my mother that we survived the hard times. Also Kishore Tiwari and his Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti came to our rescue and stood by my mother. I have no idea how I will meet the cost of studying and living in a big city like Nagpur. I only hope I realize my ambition and lend a helping hand to my mother back in the village," says Manju.

4 more farmers commit suicide in Vidarbha-Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times


Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times
Nagpur, July 28, 2011

The agrarian crises in Vidarbha’s killing fields drove four more distressed farmers to commit suicide in the last 48 hours.

The victims were identified as: Diwakar Wankhede of Gondburanda (42), Sudam Rathod (40), Warondali (both Yavatmal district), Omkar Paraskar (35) of Takli (Buldhana) and Pramod Gautre (32), Belkhed (Akola). All the farmers swallowed pesticide to end their lives, reports reaching here this evening said.

Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti claimed that these farmers were frustrated as their sowing dried up because of deficient rains in earlier this month and they had no funds for re-sowing.

Tiwari insisted that the government and financial institutions in particular should provide crop loans again to needy farmers so that such suicides could be prevented.

On the other hand, Shravan Hardikar, the Yavatmal district collector claimed that a substantial crop loans were disbursed among farmers in the current kharif season. “An amount of Rs 550-crore crop loans were disbursed among farmers in the district since June this year so that farmers don’t fall into the trap of moneylenders,” he pointed out.

However, he said that there were lots of complaints against the nationalized banks for their non-cooperation to disburse crop loans this season. “We have taken two meetings with the bank officials in this regard and directed them to fulfill the target,” he informed.

Answering a question, Hardikar admitted that six farmers were committed suicides because of agrarian crisis this week. “We are holding a meeting on August 2 in this connection and analysis the issue,” he added.

An average two farmers commit suicide every day in Vidarbha because of agrarian crisis and the figure may go up if the state fails to take preventive measures, warns Tiwari whose organization--Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti--has been documenting farmers suicide in the region since 2001.

With the deaths of these four farmers the toll has risen to 37 this month alone while the figure was 38 last month. As many as 359 farmers killed themselves in the region because of agrarian crisis since January this year.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

12 vidarbha farmer commits suicides reported in a this week – Govt. urged to save vidarbha farmer

save vidarbha farmer=Five ill fated vidarbha farmers suicides reported in last 48 hours giving serious indication of another trigger of farm suicide spiral as 12 more debt trapped farmers suicides already reported in this week and till two days are left taking official toll 448 in year 2011 alone

आश्रमशाळांचे स्थानांतरण, न्यायालयाची शासनाला नोटीस

नागपूर, २२ जुलै/ प्रतिनिधी
यवतमाळ जिल्ह्य़ातील दोन आदिवासी आश्रमशाळा राज्यात इतरत्र स्थानांतरित करण्याच्या निर्णयाला आव्हान देणाऱ्या याचिकेवर मुंबई उच्च न्यायालयाच्या नागपूर खंडपीठाने सरकारला दाखलपूर्व नोटीस जारी केली आहे.
सामाजिक कार्यकर्ते किशोर तिवारी यांनी केलेल्या याचिकेनुसार, राज्यातील सर्वात जास्त आदिवासी लोकसंख्या विदर्भात आहे. मात्र यवतमाळ जिल्ह्य़ातील वणी व नेर येथील आश्रमशाळा सरकारने बंद केल्या. त्यानंतर कुणी या आश्रमशाळा चालवण्यास तयार असल्यास त्यांना या दिल्या जातील, अशी जाहिरात आदिवासी विकास विभागाने प्रकाशित केली. त्यानुसार विदर्भातील अनेकांनीही जाहिरातीला प्रतिसाद दिला. परंतु सरकारने या आश्रमशाळा धुळे व नांदेड जिल्ह्य़ांमध्ये स्थानांतरित केल्या. सरकारच्या या निर्णयाला याचिकेत आव्हान देण्यात आले आहे.
न्या. भूषण धर्माधिकारी व न्या. प्रमोद कोदे यांच्या खंडपीठासमोर या याचिका सुनावणीला आल्या असता, त्यांनी या याचिकेवर ३ आठवडय़ात उत्तर द्यावे अशी नोटीस आदिवासी विकास विभागाच्या सचिवांच्या नावे काढली. स्थानांतरित झालेल्या आश्रमशाळांना कुठलेही अनुदान देऊ नये, तसेच राज्यात यापुढे आश्रमशाळा स्थानांतरित करू नये असे निर्देश खंडपीठाने दिले. याचिकाकर्त्यांची बाजू अ‍ॅड. फिरदोस मिर्झा यांनी मांडली.
प्रतिक्रिया येथे नोंदवा
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Friday, July 8, 2011

''Maran''s cotton export policy resulted in 20 Thousand crore losses to billion Indian cotton farmers''

Nagpur – JULY 9 2011

An association of cotton farmers has accused former textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran of pursuing a wrong policy of clamping a ban on cotton exports that has hurt farmers.

The present cotton crisis in the country is a result of wrong policies enforced by the former textile minister to protect the interests of handful textile mill owners. It has denied best available price of cotton to farmers and resulted in losses of an estimated Rs 20,000 crore to farmers and local ginners and traders, Kishore Tiwari, president of Vidharbha Janandolan Samiti, said.

A complete ban on export from January to May this year has forced them to offload the cotton or cotton bales at half the price which was prevailing till March this year, he added.

The present cotton crisis in India is result of wrong policies enforced by ex-textile minister of India to protect interest on handful textile mill owners which has denied best available price of cotton to 1 billion cotton farmers of India and resulted in the total losses of more than Rs.20,000 crore to farmers and local ginners and traders as complete ban on export from January to may 2011 has forced to them to offload the cotton or cotton bales at the half price which was prevailing till march 2011 .all decision of putting stringent restrictions of cotton bales export even on cotton yarn and cotton waste was to favor textile mills and garment industries of south India who paid thousand crore as graft to then Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran and there are documentary evidences of ill-intended decisions taken by textile ministry in last six months and we demand C.B.I. probe to this “Cotton Export Ban Scam” kishore tiwari of Vidarbha Janandoaln Samiti urged Indian Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh to in letter today.

“In letter to Indian Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh on 24th may 2011 ,vidarbha cotton farmers raised the demand of sack Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran when textile minister was not responding to letters written by union agriculture minister ,union commerce minister, chief ministers Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra and Karnataka and delayed the decision of lifting cotton export limit from 55 lakhs bales to 65 lakhs bales as against demand of minimum 100 lakhs bales .we have strong case against the Ex-Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran and ready to submit all proof of mega corruption to C.B.I. if PMO direct the CBI for the same .if PMO fails to take any action the we will move Mumbai high court Nagpur bench for relief ”Tiwari added.

Earlier VJAS wrote to PMO iN MAY-2011 requesting him to look in issue of cotton price sudden crash in India and reports more 300 farmers suicides in dying field of vidarbha which is result of unholy cartel of finger counting textile tycoon and Union Textile Minister Dayanithi Maran backed union home minister P.Chidambram which is responsible for present cotton rowers crisis in India ,farm activist group Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti VJAS allged and urged indaina prime minister to sack Union Textile Minister Dayanithi Maran to save more than 5 million dying cotton farmers of Maharashtra ,Kishore Tiwari added

“Cotton prices have increased from Rs 30000/candy in april 2010 to Rs 60000/candy April 2011 which is an increase of about Rs 70-75 per kg and immediately Spinners increased the price of yarn from rs 150/- per kg in April 2010 for 30s combed to Rs 230/- per kg in April 2011. increase of Rs 80 per kg which reflects in cotton value to Rs 30000/per candy minimum. Fabric weavers too have increased prices of grey fabric of 40 x 40 counts 124 x 64 with 200 gm per mtr which is quoted at about Rs 70/- per sqmtr as against Rs 38 in April 2010. There s an increase of Rs 32/mtr which is Rs 160/- per kg which in terms of candy is about Rs 58/60000 and present ban on export has brought back cotton prices to the level of April 2010 which is artificial an stage managed and Union Textile Minister Dayanithi Maran is directly involved in this scam ” Tiwari added.

‘As Cotton is an agricultural commodity and higher the prices farmers get, they will be encouraged to produce more and more of cotton and when Cotton production has grown from a low of 225 lac bales to 330 lac bales in last 5 years the undue protection to Local textile mills benefiting of buying Indian cotton at prices which are at least

lower by 30% as compared to its competitor in Bangladesh, Pakistan and other countries who buy from other growths which is reason behind the present restriction of cotton export and when Indian cotton after lot of hard work and promotion by exporters have found a very stable and regular market of its cotton in foreign countries and Govt should ensure that the markets created are not lost to competition due to faulty Govt policies.” It is alleged.

‘We need the urgent C.B.I. probe in all ill-managed decisions enforcing qunatitaive restriction on cotton bales.cotton yarns and cotton waste taken by Maran as textile minister and demand to lift all export restriction of cotton bales and yarn too so that farmers get higher price to cotton ‘’Tiwari urged.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mihan's flight delayed by 10 years-TIMES OF INDIA

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Mihan's flight delayed by 10 years

NAGPUR: MADC is expecting some action soon at the special economic zone (SEZ) in Mihan cargo hub, however, some see it as flogging a dead horse.

The Mihan project being developed by MADC is divided into two parts - a SEZ and a cargo hub. The 1,400 hectare hub was planned with the view that Nagpur is in the country's centre, so it can emerge as a nodal point for cargo movement, especially by air. The 2,086 hectare SEZ is also based on this theory.

Voluntary organization Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED) had mooted the idea of making Nagpur an air cargo hub in mid-1990s. It envisaged international flights from all directions, presently overflying Nagpur, landing here. The planes would redistribute cargo and fly back, with the air cargo hub supported by rail and road facilities.

However, it took a decade-and-a-half for the project to take off, and now even those in VED admit that the theory of aircraft overflying Nagpur landing here may no longer hold ground. The concept of a multi-modal cargo hub needs a change, they accept.

Over the last few years, MADC's focus has been on the SEZ and not the cargo hub, from which the name multi-modal international hub airport at Nagpur (MIHAN) was derived.

Devendra Parekh, president VED, says a lot has changed from when the project was conceived in 1997. The original theory could have worked those days, when short distance flights were used. With long-haul flights today, there is no need to land at a middle point like Nagpur.

A team of VED members had then visited Singapore to study a similar set-up, on which Mihan was conceived. Flying to Nagpur would have required less fuel, so more cargo could have been carried on planes, and then flown further in a different aircraft. With long haul flights in place, this may not be needed now, since direct flights are no longer a hassle, said Parekh.

Today, Mihan can be projected as an estate with ample land for industries to set up a unit. With industries facing land acquisition problems, like in Noida and Singur, Mihan still has a chance to come up as a road and rail terminal hub, he added.

However, the work on the rail and road terminal has been stopped by the company which had bagged the contract. It has been over a year since Nagpur Sical Gupta Logistics Limited stopped building the rail and road terminal. It backed out saying there was no assurance of any cargo being generated in Mihan. The company feared it will build the terminal and there would be no cargo to handle, leading to a dead investment.

Padmesh Gupta, a director with the company, said efforts are underway with the help of associations like VED and VIA to revive the project. Meetings have been planned with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan as well as BJP president Nitin Gadkari.

Meanwhile, Deccan 360, which had formally inaugurated its air cargo hub at Nagpur with much pomp two years ago, is yet to start it in a full-fledged manner. Deccan's cargo planes were supposed to land in Nagpur. However, the company continues to transport its cargo through other airlines operating from the city.

After Mihan Airport Limited (MIL), a joint venture of MADC and AAI, was formed, it was planned to redevelop the airport at a cost of Rs 63 crore. MIL is yet to get the money from the government, said a source. Finances have been a major constraint since the airport already has huge accumulated losses, they added.

All hope now rests on the strategic third partner that may be roped in for the project. Last month, Ernst and Young was appointed as consultant for advising the company in scouting for a partner. The new partner is expected to bring in the much needed equity for the venture.

UPS Madan, vice-chairman-cum-managing director of MADC, said after ensuring investors in SEZ start functioning, the focus would now be on the cargo hub. A decision may also be taken on Nagpur Sical Gupta Logistics, which has stopped work.

On roping in the third partner, Madan said no decision has been taken so far. "MADC will first go through the consultant's report and then decide its strategy on the partner. There is no immediate plan to review the entire concept of the cargo hub on the grounds that air cargo may now be outdated," he said.

Vilas Kale, former president of VED who was involved in conceiving Mihan, says that despite the changes in the type of aircraft the idea need not be given up yet. "Not all airlines have shifted to long-haul aircraft. Moreover, VED has also suggested that 50 acres of the SEZ should be de-notified to attract industries which may generate cargo. They need not be export oriented units," he added.