Friday, April 18, 2008

Loan waiver remains on paper

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Loan waiver remains on paper
18 Apr 2008, 0250 hrs IST,Radheshyam Jadhav,TNN

PUNE: Despite the Rs 60,000 cr loan-waiver announced by the Finance Minister, as many as 316 farmers in Vidarbha, 40 in Marathwada and 31 in western Maharashtra have ended their lives since January this year.

Kishore Tiwari of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti says, "All these announcements have remained only on paper. Banks are after farmers to repay their loans. They are telling the farmers that they have not received any official communication from the government on the loan waiver. The government is looking at ad hoc measures, not permanent solutions. There is a wave of resentment among the farmers in Vidarbha."

Farmers from the sugar belt echo Tiwari's feelings. "Congress president Sonia Gandhi held a massive rally in Sangli recently, but paid no heed to our suffering. Seventeen farmers have ended their lives in Sangli this year," says farmer Baba Sawant.

Apart from 17 cases in Sangli, six farmers have ended their lives in Satara, three in Solapur and one in Pune.

When contacted, a revenue official said the families of nine farmers in western Maharashtra have received help from the government. "The other cases are under consideration," he added.

The farmers point out that despite the loan waiver, what is haunting their fraternity is the crumbling of the co-operative movement due to corruption involving political bigwigs, incomplete irrigation projects, insufficient institutional finance, inadequate inputs such as seeds and fertilisers, lack of marketing facilities and hold of money-lenders.

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