Tuesday, November 30, 2010

After farmer suicides, Vidarbha heading towards micro-credit disaster

After farmer suicides, Vidarbha heading towards micro-credit disaster

30 November 2010
http://southasia.oneworld.net/todaysheadlines/after-farmer-suicides-vidarbha-likely-to-witness-micro-credit-debt-trap

Agricultural experts predict that farmers and small businessmen in Vidarbha will soon run into a vicious debt trap, as spurious micro-finance institutions (MFIs) spring-up in the region. These institutions target needy farmers, who have no choice but to take loans despite high interest rates.

Anna Banks, as these quick lenders have been nicknamed in Vidarbha, originated in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh - 'Anna' is the colloquial term for a south Indian man in some parts of the deccan. Yavatmal, the farm suicide capital of the country, has been an easy gateway for micro-finance institutions (MFIs) that already have a strong presence in Andhra Pradesh. Farm experts are wary that Vidarbha, which has only just seen a decline in farmer suicides, may soon see not only peasants but also petty traders once again running into a debt trap due to the proliferation of MFIs, which they say have supplanted the local, usurious private moneylender.

Maharashtra ranks fourth in terms of loans granted by MFIs in the country, trailing Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, where the loans given stand at Rs 5, 235 crore, Rs 2, 557 crore, and Rs 2, 387 crore respectively. The tally in Maharashtra stands at Rs 967 crore, with 30 MFIs operating in this state according to data posted at the website of Sa-Dhan's, a federation of MFIs. Sources say a chunk of the business comes from Vidarbha and Marathwada regions, which share borders with Andhra Pradesh.

Though MFIs have had a presence in Vidarbha for some time now, the year 2007 - when the mega farm debt waiver was announced - provided a major business opportunity for these institutions to spread their base in this region, which was scarred by farmer suicides. Even as huge amounts of farm loans were waived away, making even defaulters eligible for credit, it took time for the banks to offer fresh loans. In the meantime, the cost of cultivation had gone up and there was a high demand for credit, which was quickly provided by these Anna Banks.

Activists say it did not take time for them to mushroom in Yavatmal because certain parts of the region are so close to Andhra Pradesh that MFI agents operating there had already established an informal rapport with locals here. Farmers got services at their doorstep and agents even set up shops on roads - money was instantly available after just a basic verification of credentials. These MFIs quickly replaced local private moneylenders who were perceived to be harsh and often grabbed the defaulters' land. But the interest MFIs charge is steep - as high as 32 per cent for a year and a half.

"You want money for tilling land or buying a fancy motorbike - Anna Banks are always there to help. However, they are prompt in recovering the amount too, with tough-looking agents knocking on your doors on due dates. The first installment is deducted when the loan is disbursed and the borrower ends up paying almost 1. 5 to 2 times of the loan amount for a tenure of just a little more than a year, " says Kishore Tiwari, a farm activist running Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti at the Pandharkavda tehsil of Yavatmal.

Self Help Groups (SHG) became easy poaching targets for the MFIs. Public sector banks had already helped the setting up of a large number of SHGs in this region, with the highest concentration in Pandharkavda. The campaign began in 2003-4 as a move to counter moneylenders, but ended up being exploited by the MFIs. The lists of SHGs were easily sourced and their members were co-opted as clients of the MFIs", says Tiwari.

Farm activist Vijay Jawandhiya, based in Wardha, says the MFIs have reached up to his district too. "They charge interest rates in the range of 27 per cent to 30 per cent, on loans in the range of Rs 10, 000 to 20, 000. Apart from farmers, petty businessmen in the villages have been given loans, " he reveals. Jawandhiya says this can fast lead the farmers into a debt trap if not checked in time. He suggests that the local money-lending business should be legalised by capping the interest at 18 per cent and anyone who has surplus money should be allowed to lend in villages.

G Ramachandran of BASIX, a Hyderabad-based MFI, says that they charge up to 24 per cent interest, but operate on a thin margin of 2 per cent. The cost of funds is pegged at around 12 per cent and operating costs at 10 per cent. This, he says, hardly leaves any scope for a reduction in rates, which have already been cut by 400 basis points in April this year. Lately, the firm is also trying to come up with value-added services by providing market linkage to the cotton-growers of Vidarbha. Under this, the MFI will scout for buyers on behalf of the farmers. There are pension and insurance schemes offered through the MFI as well.

Ironically, the Reserve Bank of India, which has a full-fledged office at Nagpur, does not have figures on bank credit available for farmers. Despite the bank being involved in farm-crisis mitigation measures, the rural planning and credit department of the apex bank said it does not maintain any such data. "It is not our mandate to provide such information on a regional basis as it could lead to skewed perceptions,” said a senior official here.

10 more Vidarbha Farmers suicides reported on the eve of winter session Maharashtra assembly-Vidarbha Farmer’s losses to cross Rs.4000 crore

10 more Vidarbha Farmers suicides reported on the eve of winter session Maharashtra assembly-Vidarbha Farmer’s wet drought losses to cross Rs.4000 crore

Nagpur -30th November 2010

When Maharashtra chief minister was taking tea party with MNS M.L.A.s and opposition parties BJP-SS MLAs were boycotting Tea same time wet drought hit cotton farmer Ravindra Khoke (age-30) from village Dehegoan in Yavatmal was awaiting postmortem who committed suicides in the morning .

In last 48 hours ten more vidarbha farmers suicide have been reported and victims are identified as

1.RAVINDRA KHOKE OF DHAGEGOAN IN YAVATMAL

2.SHAYMRAO SOLANKI OF NER PANGLAI IN AMARAVATI

3.ARUN MAHURLE OF CHIKHALGOAN IN CHANDRAPUR

4.HEMANT PADOLE OF OF BORGOAN INWARDHA

5.YUVRAJ PUDAKKARE OF VIRALI IN BHANDARA

6.VIJAY WANKHEDE OF BORGOAN(MANJU) IN AKOLA

7.SUDHIR SABLE OF ANAKWADI IN AMARAVATI

8.ZHAGANLALAN RAHGANDALE OF PADULKOMA IIN GONDIA

9.SUBHASH ADHAV OF UTI IN YAVATMAL

10.AJAY DHANDE OF HINGANGHAT IN WARDHA

Taking tally has touched 700 mark in the year 2010 ,informed Kishor Tiwari of Vidarbha Janndolan Samiti informed today .

This year farm suicide spiral has reached paddy growers of east vidarbha and highest numbers farm suicides are being reported from Bhandara and Gondia district and excessive rain and wet drought has lost paddy, cotton and soybean and initial losses already crossed Rs.4000 crore and more losses are likely to be reported as after khariff and the ruby crop have taken major hit in recent heavy rain in November

‘At present more than 3 million wet drought hit farmers are facing starvation as they are not covered under public distribution system and there is no crop of paddy or jawar thai is very pathetic situation ’

“Distressed and dying farmers needs food security ,health facility to critically ill members of distressed farming community and provision for direct financial assistance to daughter marriage along with free fodder and potable water but till date only promises are given ,not relief resulting these farmers suicides” alleged Kishore Tiwari of VJAS.

‘we are expecting central intervention to stop this mass genocide of innocent farmers who are victims of wrong policies promoted by state as in dry land area rain sensitive crop like Bt.cotton is being cultivated in more than 95% causing huge financial losses to the cotton farmers and water crisis in the area. We have demanding the ban on rain sensitive crop in this region and promotion of food crop in all rain fed area of vidarbha since 2004 but nobody is giving any attention to this serious demand resulting more and more farm suicides in the region’ Tiwari added,

"Only a price of 4,500 can help cotton growers tide over the difficult situation caused by excessive rains, we will ask all parties to help cotton growers of India,” VJAS stressed in press release today. Sharad Pawar rejection of Maharashtra State Co-Operative Cotton Marketing Federation demand of raising cotton procurement price from Rs.3000 MSP to Rs.4200 per quintal has received very violent reaction mark by the protest all over vidarbha and VJAS activist has burnt the effigy of Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today protesting her announcement the demand of cotton price rise is baseless and central will not consider it.

Maharashtra State Co-Operative Cotton Marketing Federation silver jubilee function on November 28 in Mumbai amidst mounting losses and prospects of a lower cotton production of the produce this year in the state has left dying 3 million vidarbha cotton farmers most dejected when Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has rejected the demand made by Dr.N.P.Hirani chairman , Maharashtra State Co-Operative Cotton Marketing Federation that this year in Maharashtra record 42 lacs hector cotton has been lost due to wet drought and cotton cultivation cost has been double hence central Govt. to raise minimum support rice (MSP) to Rs.4,200 quintal from today’s Rs.3000/- per quintal which unchanged by CACP since 2007,Kishor Tiwari of Vidarbha Janndolan Samiti informed today .

Pl arrange to publish this press note

KISHOR TIWARI

President

Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti

Monday, November 29, 2010

Rejection of Cotton Price Rise Demand- ‘Vidarbha Farmers burnt effigy of Sharad Pawar’

Rejection of Cotton Price Rise Demand-

‘Vidarbha Farmers burnt effigy of Sharad Pawar’

kolzari-Yavatmal dated-29th November 2010

Sharad Pawar rejection of Maharashtra State Co-Operative Cotton Marketing Federation demand of raising cotton procurement price from Rs.3000 MSP to Rs.4200 per quintal has received very violent reaction mark by the protest all over vidarbha and VJAS activist has burnt the effigy of Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today protesting her announcement the demand of cotton price rise is baseless and central will not consider it.

Maharashtra State Co-Operative Cotton Marketing Federation silver jubilee function on November 28 in Mumbai amidst mounting losses and prospects of a lower cotton production of the produce this year in the state has left dying 3 million vidarbha cotton farmers most dejected when Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has rejected the demand made by Dr.N.P.Hirani chairman , Maharashtra State Co-Operative Cotton Marketing Federation that this year in Maharashtra record 42 lacs hector cotton has been lost due to wet drought and cotton cultivation cost has been double hence central Govt. to raise minimum support rice (MSP) to Rs.4,200 quintal from today’s Rs.3000/- per quintal which unchanged by CACP since 2007,Kishor Tiwari of Vidarbha Janndolan Samiti informed today .

“Sharad Pawar rejection to the chapter of demands of Maharashtra State Co-Operative Cotton Marketing Federation will certainly add fuel to farm suicide spiral which has claimec more than 8000 farmers since 2005 more over in last 48 hours seven more vidarbha farmers suicide have been reported and victims are identified as

1.Arun Mahurle of Chikhalgoan in Chandrapur

2.Hemant Padole of Of Borgoan inwardha

3.Yuvraj Pudakkare of Virali in Bhandara

4.Vijay Wankhede of Borgoan(Manju) in Akola

5.Sudhir Sable of Anakwadi in Amaravati

6.Zhaganlalan Rahgandale of Padulkoma iIn Gondia

7.Subhash Adhav of Uti in Yavatmal

Taking tally 688 in the year 2010 ,informed Kishor Tiwari of VJAS today

“Distressed and dying farmers needs food security ,health facility to critically ill members of distressed farming community and provision for direct financial assistance to daughter marriage along with free fodder and potable water but till date only promises are given ,not relief resulting these farmers suicides” alleged Kishore Tiwari of VJAS.

‘we are expecting central intervention to stop this mass genocide of innocent farmers who are victims of wrong policies promoted by state as in dry land area rain sensitive crop like Bt.cotton is being cultivated in more than 95% causing huge financial losses to the cotton farmers and water crisis in the area. We have demanding the ban on rain sensitive crop in this region and promotion of food crop in all rain fed area of vidarbha since 2004 but nobody is giving any attention to this serious demand resulting more and more farm suicides in the region’ Tiwari added,

"Only a price of 4,500 can help cotton growers tide over the difficult situation caused by excessive rains, we will ask all parties to help cotton growers of India,” VJAS stressed in press release today.

Pl arrange to publish this press note

KISHOR TIWARI

President

Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Vidarbha Agrarian Crisis and Solutions

Vidarbha Agrarian Crisis and Solutions

Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti(VJAS) has been working as watch of agrarian crisis of west vidarbha and has been monitoring the farmers suicides and relief packages and has been asking the govt. to address the most serious issue of as this is too complex to address it in a single direction ,west vidarbha where 90% farming population in under distress and facing crisis of complete system failure ,needs to have very urgent steps for rural socio-economical system restoration that demands universal food security, free health care, secondary income support to dry land farmers , interest free crop loan for every dry land farmers as per cultivation cost ,complete prohibition and administration at the door step of dying farmers .VJAS has urged Maharashtra New Chief Minister to address the long pending demands of vidarbha farmers

Most important issue that cotton farmers need to be attended that is compensation due wet drought and crop failure due to record rain and revision in cotton minimum support price MSP as it is unchanged by CACP since 2008 even after cost of cultivation triple in last two years .

Here are some solutions to vidarbha agrarian crisis other than credit and cost issues

1.Even if you try maximum and pour Crores of Rupees, the irrigation in these areas would not be able to cross 20%. It means major and medium projects have some limitation. There is an urgent need to make Water Conservation a mass movement. Examples of Ralegan Siddhi and Hivare Bajar should inspire us. The approach of Water Conservation at village level would be the most effective solution. Every drop of water in every field and every village should be conserved by various methods. And it is very much possible as shown by these 2 and many other villages.

2.We should think of the cropping practices as well. Use of heavy inputs particularly for fertilizers and pesticides, thanks to the aggressive marketing strategy by the companies is making the farmer pay a heavy price. There is a lot of potential of use of cow dung, neem seeds and the waste generated in the fields. In fact these can be processed like in the form of vermicompost, nimboli ark etc as the raw material is very cheap and easily available. If we make this also a mass movement, then the farmer would be able to save a lot on the input costs. Some of the farmers are practicing combination of these natural fertilizers and chemical fertilizers. That would also lead to some saving for the farmer.

3.Moving to the new areas in agriculture is the need of the hour. I have seen some farmers in some part of Maharashtra who have taken up floriculture on large scale. They have raised green houses and are sending flowers to near by metros on daily basis. The best part of it is that they have formed a Self Help Group and have ensured that the marketing cost is minimum and at the same time they get the best price in the market for their product. The Govt. of India has taken up the initiatives in the form of National Horticulture Mission and Micro Irrigation scheme etc. These should be tapped properly to help maximum number of farmers.

4. The suicides by farmers of cotton belt of AP was also an issue. But, since 2004 they have taken many steps. Those measures should also be studied. May be you can pay a visit to some of the Districts and learn from them. In Karimnagar district hundreds of farmers going for Self Help Group. They are forming groups so that you go on a least risk path at the time of procuring inputs as well as at the time of marketing.

5. Long term plan of 6-8 years in sectors such as dairy and Irrigation. At least 40,000 Ha of land must be brought under Micro irrigation every year for next 4-5 years. For this purpose land holding criteria should be relaxed up to 5-7 Ha. Instead of usual 2 Ha.

6. Counseling of farmers by competent NGOs for a period of at least 2 years in selected pockets in the district.

7. Impact assessment of Vidarbha Panlot Mission works to see whether desired results are achieved.

8. Programme of improved breed of milch animals by an agency (At least 2 units per Taluka.)

9. Re construction of loan for 2011-12, DCC banks can not raise more than 1250 Crs. Additional 1500 Crs may be provided by MSC Bank/ Govt.

10.Repairs to Main and Minor Canals of Irrigation projects to be undertaken.

11.De silting of Malgujari and Minor storage tanks to be undertaken by using special time bound programme

12.Collector to have direct administrative control over officers and staff of line departments in order to achieve desired results.

VITAL RECOMMENDATIONS OF VIDARBHA FARMERS COMMITTEE REPORT EATING DUST AT MANTRALAYA

It is matter of national shame and anguish to know the hostile functioning of Maharashtra Govt. who declared in December 2008 to implement the recommendations of a High Power Committee headed by Vice-Chancellor of Pune University, Dr. Narendra Jadhav and promised to provide food ,health care and free education to children of 4.34 lakh farmers in distress from the suicide-prone districts of Amravati, Akola, Yavatmal, Buldhana, Washim and Wardha. 12 months have passed since and not a single farmer has received finance assistance owing to the finance department's indifferent attitude, Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti(VJAS) president Kishore Tiwari informed in press note today. .

After more than 10 committee reports on facts and remedies on the farmers' plight instead of providing relief to the dying farmers , the then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had in November 2007 set up a one-member panel headed by the then Pune university vice-chancellor Narendra Jadhav to suggest ways to arrest farmers' suicides in the Vidarbha region when India is quite aware with the gravity and the depth of the issue of 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 Vidarbha Region of State of Maharashtra. The gross failure of the State Administration even to take the cognizance of the Survey Report prepared by the State Controlled Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swawlamban Mission at Amravati Commissionerate in the month of May-June 2006, 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 18 months from the Survey conducted in May-June, 2006.

The Government has formed a High Power Committee headed by Vice-Chancellor of Pune University, Dr. Narendra Jadhav to examine the shortcomings in the Farmers’ Packages under implementation and to suggest remedial measures to stop farmer suicides. At the time of visit of Dr. Jadhav to Vidarbha Region, the Farmers Organization – Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS) – which 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 Vidarbha Region of Maharashtra State has submitted a detailed report to the Jadhav Committee.

In the context of the report submitted by Dr. Narendra Jadhav Committee, it is relevant to throw light on certain facts. At the time of visit of Dr. Narendra Jadhav to Nagpur, various Organisations submitted Memorandum to the said Committee, but the Memorandum submitted by VJAS through its President Shri Kishore Tiwari highlighted the detailed analysis the causes of the Farmers Suicides and after reviewing the success of implementation of the State Government Package & PMO Package for Farmers, the Committee admitted that the Packages have 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. It is required that it must act now, otherwise it will be too late to sort out the broken social structure in dying Rural Vidarbha.

VJAS pointed out that 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.

VJAS highlighted 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.

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 VJAS, out of such a huge numbers of families from those surveyed villages, VJAS had drawn the immediate attention of the Jadhav Committee towards the facts pertaining to the farmers in extreme distress and farmers with serious illness as stated above.

THE FACTS & OUR EXPERIENCE :

VJAS pointed out that 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.

Jadhav Committee has accepted the suggestion given by the VJAS and recommended to provide immediate Food Security to 4,34,291 Identified Families in Extreme Distress and order to formulate immediate scheme 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 i.e. upto December, 2009.

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.

Jadhav Committee has accepted the suggestion given by the VJAS and recommended to provide 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 GOVERNMENT’S IMMEDIATE ATTENTION :

1. ISSUE OF 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.

IMMEDIATE REMEDY

All the Nationalized banks be strictly advised / ordered to review the scale of finance and accordingly 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.

Jadhav Committee has accepted the suggestion given by the VJAS and recommended that all the Nationalized banks be strictly advised / ordered to review the scale of finance and accordingly 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.

2. ISSUE OF 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.

IMMEDIATE REMEDY

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.

Jadhav Committee has accepted the suggestion given by the VJAS and recommended 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.

3. ISSUE OF 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 and rainfed 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.

Jadhav Committee has accepted the suggestion given by the VJAS and recommended that the good quality BT Seeds to be provided by the Government to stop the exploitation by the Multi-National Seeds Company.

4. DR. NARENDRA JADHAV COMMITTEE HAS ALSO MADE VITAL RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE FOLLOWING TOPICS lA) The Interest Remission Scheme under Packages have 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 (AIDP) 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 amount spent on 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) Farmers in extreme illness categories should be provided with Special Health Card in order to facilitate them with the concessional medicine and health care. This will directly help to reduce the distress and depression level and save the farmers from committing suicides.

H) 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.

I) The farm sector insurance companies be advised / directed to settle the claims of farmers in stipulated time period of 30 days.

J) Contrary to the interest of the poor farmers, the Government is blindly promoting the Contract Farming which 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.

K) 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.

VITAL RECOMMENDATIONS OF VIDARBHA FARMERS COMMITTEE REPORT EATING DUST AT MANTRALAYA

It is matter of national shame and anguish to know the hostile functioning of Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan who declared in December 2008 to implement the recommendations of a High Power Committee headed by Vice-Chancellor of Pune University, Dr. Narendra Jadhav and promised to provide food ,health care and free education to children of 4.34 lakh farmers in distress from the suicide-prone districts of Amravati, Akola, Yavatmal, Buldhana, Washim and Wardha. 12 months have passed since and not a single farmer has received finance assistance owing to the finance department's indifferent attitude, Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti(VJAS) president Kishore Tiwari informed in press note today. .

After more than 10 committee reports on facts and remedies on the farmers' plight instead of providing relief to the dying farmers , the then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had in November 2007 set up a one-member panel headed by the then Pune university vice-chancellor Narendra Jadhav to suggest ways to arrest farmers' suicides in the Vidarbha region when India is quite aware with the gravity and the depth of the issue of 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 Vidarbha Region of State of Maharashtra. The gross failure of the State Administration even to take the cognizance of the Survey Report prepared by the State Controlled Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swawlamban Mission at Amravati Commissionerate in the month of May-June 2006, 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 18 months from the Survey conducted in May-June, 2006.

The Government has formed a High Power Committee headed by Vice-Chancellor of Pune University, Dr. Narendra Jadhav to examine the shortcomings in the Farmers’ Packages under implementation and to suggest remedial measures to stop farmer suicides. At the time of visit of Dr. Jadhav to Vidarbha Region, the Farmers Organization – Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS) – which 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 Vidarbha Region of Maharashtra State has submitted a detailed report to the Jadhav Committee.

In the context of the report submitted by Dr. Narendra Jadhav Committee, it is relevant to throw light on certain facts. At the time of visit of Dr. Narendra Jadhav to Nagpur, various Organisations submitted Memorandum to the said Committee, but the Memorandum submitted by VJAS through its President Shri Kishore Tiwari highlighted the detailed analysis the causes of the Farmers Suicides and after reviewing the success of implementation of the State Government Package & PMO Package for Farmers, the Committee admitted that the Packages have 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. It is required that it must act now, otherwise it will be too late to sort out the broken social structure in dying Rural Vidarbha.

VJAS pointed out that 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.

VJAS highlighted 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.

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 VJAS, out of such a huge numbers of families from those surveyed villages, VJAS had drawn the immediate attention of the Jadhav Committee towards the facts pertaining to the farmers in extreme distress and farmers with serious illness as stated above.

THE FACTS & OUR EXPERIENCE :

VJAS pointed out that 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.

Jadhav Committee has accepted the suggestion given by the VJAS and recommended to provide immediate Food Security to 4,34,291 Identified Families in Extreme Distress and order to formulate immediate scheme 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 i.e. upto December, 2009.

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.

Jadhav Committee has accepted the suggestion given by the VJAS and recommended to provide 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 GOVERNMENT’S IMMEDIATE ATTENTION :

1. ISSUE OF 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.

IMMEDIATE REMEDY

All the Nationalized banks be strictly advised / ordered to review the scale of finance and accordingly 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.

Jadhav Committee has accepted the suggestion given by the VJAS and recommended that all the Nationalized banks be strictly advised / ordered to review the scale of finance and accordingly 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.

2. ISSUE OF 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.

IMMEDIATE REMEDY

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.

Jadhav Committee has accepted the suggestion given by the VJAS and recommended 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.

3. ISSUE OF 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 and rainfed 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.

Jadhav Committee has accepted the suggestion given by the VJAS and recommended that the good quality BT Seeds to be provided by the Government to stop the exploitation by the Multi-National Seeds Company.

4. DR. NARENDRA JADHAV COMMITTEE HAS ALSO MADE VITAL RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE FOLLOWING TOPICS lA) The Interest Remission Scheme under Packages have 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 (AIDP) 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 amount spent on 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) Farmers in extreme illness categories should be provided with Special Health Card in order to facilitate them with the concessional medicine and health care. This will directly help to reduce the distress and depression level and save the farmers from committing suicides.

H) 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.

I) The farm sector insurance companies be advised / directed to settle the claims of farmers in stipulated time period of 30 days.

J) Contrary to the interest of the poor farmers, the Government is blindly promoting the Contract Farming which 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.

K) 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.

VJAS has urged maharshtra new chief minister to address issues of vidarbha agrarin crisis to stop on going farmers genocide.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Land Development Bank (LDB)seizes 51 tractors from farmers and MSEDCL cut 1.5 lac Agri-power connection-TIMES OF INDIA


Printed from

LDB seizes 51 tractors from farmers


NAGPUR: The state's Land Development Bank (LDB) has finally begun cracking the whip to recover its decade-old dues from the region's farmers. The action has left farmers' union activists crying foul. However, bankers say this is part of the regular recovery process, and the bank had waited long enough before acting.

The bank had ceased operations in 1997 after the rural banking behemoth Nabard stopped financing it since the state government withdrew its guarantee to this bank. The LDB was left with huge dues, which have not been entirely recovered till date.

LDB is a two-tier agency, with a bank in each district and one apex bank. The operations in almost all the districts level banks have stopped, with some branches without enough funds to even pay employees salaries.

According to the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, a farmers' organisation, at least 51 tractors have been seized from farmers throughout the region by the LDB. A senior official in the Nagpur bank confirmed such an action being undertaken and said 4-5 tractors have been seized in Nagpur district too. "There are chances that around 50 or so tractors may have been seized in the entire region," said the official.

Before this, the bank had adopted a passive approach of 'Gandhigiri' to try and shame the borrowers into paying up the loan amounts. However, this did not work and finally stern action has been taken by the bank now.

On the other hand, Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti has termed this as an abrupt shift to coercive methods of recovery. Kishore Tiwari said that the bank could have waited till after the harvest, which is due by the month end. He also said that the recent untimely rains in some places have hit farmers badly.

Tiwari also said that a similar recovery drive by the electricity supply company MSEDCL had led to the snapping of around 1.5 lakh power connections, making the situation very bad for farmers. Only 13,000 connections have been restored so far. A farmer has already filed a petition against the drive before the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court, he said.

Meanwhile, sources in the LDB said, there is a one-time settlement scheme open till March 2011, and those who have applied under it are being spared in the drive, otherwise the recovery drive will continue simultaneously.