LETTER TO INDIAN PRIME MINISTER DR.MAN MOHAN SINGJI FROM DYING VIDARBHA FARMER
Most Respected Prime Ministerji,
REF-2ND ANNIVERSARY OF YOUR MUCH MORE PUBLICISED “VIDARBHA FARM RELIEF PACKAGE OF RS.3750 AND 120 DAYS AFTER FARM LOAN WAIVER OF RS.71100 CRORE”
SUB-1. 3 MILLION DYING VIDARBHA COTTON FARMERS TILL AWAITING RELIEF AID AND FRESH FARM CREDIT
2.COMPLETE FAILURE OF INDIAN ADMINISTRATION TO “DEAL VIDARBHA AGRARIAN CRISIS” AS YOU ARE TOO OCCUPIED IN “NUCLEAR DEAL” TO LOOK IN TO REALITY OF THE GROUND SITUATION .
On the eve of 2nd anniversary of your much more publicised “vidarbha farm relief package of rs.3750 crore”, I one of distressed cotton farmer on behalf of 3 million dying cotton farmers who are in the deep grip of agrarian crisis and committing suicides at the rate one farmer suicides after every 8 hours since September 2005 .
As you are completed out tracked the Indian agrarian crisis due to over hanging UPA Govt fate on “Indo-US” nuclear deal ,may I kindly update you the most serious problem of vidarbha farmers suicides as around 3000 more vidarbha farm suicides since the announcement of publicised “vidarbha farm relief package of rs.3750 ” on 1st july 2006 in Nagpur , has been added to Indian farm suicides official tally of 1,70,000 since 1998 .
here is important chronology of the events of vidarbha agrarian crisis
1.October-2005- Dr.M.S.Swaminathan then chairman of national farmer’s commission (NCF) visited cotton belt of vidarbha where farm suicides were reported and NCF has officially warned Maharashtra Govt. regardinf seriousness of vidarbha agrarian crisis and requested to act fast of credit front and cotton price restoration as that the first shock from the govt. as they withdrew rs.2500/- per quintal cotton price under cotton monopoly scheme but Maharashtra govt. failed to act on credit and cotton price front inviting more and more farm suicides of cotton farmers of vidarbha .now vidarbha farm suicides has been matter of topics being regularly reported by local and national media and Indian and state govt. came under scanner from Human Rights Commission and Mumbai High Court
2.December 2005- first time Maharshtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh admitted that more than 1000 vidarbha farmers have committed suicide in last two year and Declared Rs.1070 Crore Relief Aid on 8th December 2005 but issue of fresh farm credit and restoration of cottotn price to rs.2500/- was not addressed in this relief package and turned out to be eyewash resulting more farm suicides in Jan. and Feb. months of 2006 asking Indian govt. intervention in the matter and PMO asked planning commission asked to look in to vidarbha agrarian crisis.
3.March2006 -Visit Of Planning Commission Team To Vidarbha - now when vidarbha farmers suicides at the peak ,expert team of Indian Planning Commission headed by Dr.Adarsha Misra visited vidarbha and submitted it’s report and it was report which has brought total Govt. continuous apathy towards cotton farmers due to international crash in cotton prices mainly caused by US subsidies and high volatility in the raw cotton prices and sudden rise in input cotton cultivation cost in India mainly due to sky rocking Bt.cotton seed prices, introduced in vidarbha for first time in June 2005 for commercial trials but babus in state and at the centre shown the report the shastri bhavan’s agriculture office dust bin resulting more farm suicides at the speed than earlier and Govt. was busy in defending the figures of farm suicides in vidarbha.
4.April-2006 apathy towards vidarbha farm suicides resulted babus fined by the high court,shocked the nation-
VJAS moved the Mumbai high court
D E M A N DS
ANNOUNCE ADVANCE BONUS & INCREASE PRICE OF COTTON TO
RS. 2750/- PER QUINTAL AT PAR WITH WHEAT PRODUCING FARMERS
The Govt. of Maharashtra should immediate announced the increase in purchase price of cotton to give remunerative and affordable prices to the cotton commodity, the only cash crops of 17,34,000 Lacs farmers in Vidarbha and announce the advance bonus of Rs. 700/- per quintal to cotton to make the MSP with bonus @ Rs. 2750/- per quintal, as done by the Govt. of India for Wheat producing farmers in North India where the MSP of Wheat have been substantially increased & hiked to @ Rs. 1000/- per quintal. The principle of equity and fair play must be Honoured to give level playing field to the Vidarbha farmers in distress.
TOTAL WEAVER OF FARMER LOANS
The weaver of interest only help to the revival of Co-operative Banks. The interest weaver amount of Rs. 825/- CR have gone to Bank only. Now, interest weaver burden has again caused increase in the principle amount of loan.
We, therefore, demand immediate steps & announcement of total weaver of farmers loans, instead of interest weaver which will again increase the principle amount remain unpaid. The Banks be instructed to take the burden of interest weaver and amount paid by the Government to be credited to principle loan amounts so that it will directly benefit to the farmers principle loan amount & thus the total weaver of farmers loan is possible, if the Banks be ordered to credit amount of Rs. 825/- CR to the principle loan amount instead of crediting it in interest account.
NOT TO PROMOTE BT COTTON IN RAINFED AREAS OF VIDARBHA.
Due to improper advice / lack of advice & training from the Agricultural Department as well as Government of Maharashtra, the cultivating of BT Cotton has increased many folds. The study reports have established that BT cotton is not suitable in rainfed areas of Vidarbha. But no proper training & advice is given to the farmers which all have failed preys to the misleading and false advertisement of BT cotton promoted by the State Sponsored Agencies. The increase in cost of production due to high inputs cost of BT seeds & other supplements, the profit margin in the cotton crop have reduced to virtual zero, in some places even negative and thus increase in the distress level of the farmers. Therefore Government should take immediate steps to discourage the cultivation of costly BT cotton in rainfed areas of Vidarbha & Marathwada by giving proper training and advice through massive advertisements in the interest of truth and realities to the farmers.
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
We, therefore, demand that 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.
Even the high court intervention failed to awake the administration but you were much disturbed when senior rural affairs editor of hindu p.sainath briefed you seriousness vidarbha agrarian crisis and you decided to visit vidarbha in june-2006 to provide healing touch to dying vidarbha farmers.
July-2006 –Prime Minister Vidarbha Visit And Rs.3750 Crore Package-with help of planning commission and in consultation p.sainath prime minister’s vidarbha was fixed and villages given by the activist were selected for your visit and it was decided that the distressed farmers who are in debt trapped will be given following relief
-Complete Loan Waiver
-Cotton Price Restoration
-Food Crop Incentive
-Food And Health Security To Distress Farm Families
-Huge Investment In Rural Vidarbha To Increase Massive Rural Employment
As prime minister vidarbha tour and package to cotton farmers was brain child of planning commission and p.sainath ,the strongmen and big maratha leader sharad pawar has taken objection over the developments and shown serious reservation over the relief package itself and joined the hands with finance minister and montek singh to modify the relief package and prime minister was forced to modify the relief package of Rs.3750crore and prime minister after touring vidarbha on 30th june and 1st july 2006,announced the package which was hoax as main demands of vidarbha farmers v.i.z.
2.complete loan waiver
3.food crop incentive
4.-food and health security
5-investment for rural employment generation
Were missing and as relief package was not targeted to distressed cotton farmers it failed miserably.
29th Feb.2008-Rs.60,000 Crore Farm Loan Waiver
Indian govt. in order to save dying vidarbha farmers came out with farm loan waiver with 2 hector cap resulting 90% distressed farmers to be kept out of loan waiver benefit ,it was classic example of relief that has been given to richest farmers of mahrashtra ,the loan waiver was brain child union agriculture minister shard pawar who managed to get his political basin more stronger at the cost 5000 farm suicides of vidarbha.
27 April-2006 CAG report exposes complete failure of administration and bankers coupled with massive corruption in vidarbha relief operation
for detail CAG report please click link
now the Comptroller and Auditor General's report on "Farmer's Packages" in the State. A performance audit the government of
The very first page of the CAG report tells us why. Despite the State government's Rs.1075-crore "package" for farmers "the suicides, however, continued unabated and the number increased to 1414 during 2006-07." The Prime Minister's visit in mid-2006 and the Centre's Rs.3750-crore package that followed in July also came the year the suicides increased. As we know from earlier reports, including some in this newspaper, they actually went up in the second half of that year.
Here is the CAG on the official response: "No evaluation of the implementation of the packages, in terms of reduction in agrarian distress, was made." We also learn that tens of crores of rupees aimed at reducing farmer distress were, in fact, never spent. The value of the packages themselves was exaggerated by over Rs.200 crore. Crores were released under some heads with no reference at all to the actual requirement of funds.
Other funds, such as those meant "for increase in production," were released late. Cheques given to some 'beneficiaries' "were dishonoured for want of cash in the bank." The "self-help groups were paid subsidies in excess of admissible norms." Parts of other funds were not released at all. In head after head, funds were underutilised. This is how lackadaisical the governments were with packages worth a total of Rs.4,825 crore. So what's Rs.10 crore for the IPL?
But the CAG report, which is devastating from start to finish, does not stop at that. It has a clear premonition of things to come. On the "interest waiver" that followed the Prime Minister's visit, it says: "While reimbursing banks for interest waived on loans, sanction of fresh loans was not ensured."
That is exactly where most farmers now find themselves again after the "massive farm loan waiver." Fresh credit is very hard to come by. Distress has not come down. There have been over 360 farm suicides since January this year, about 200 of them post-loan waiver. In the official count, there were 153 in January and February. And of these, only 18 were considered "eligible suicides." That is, only 18 families had any hope of being compensated for losing a breadwinner. The figures for March and April will turn out to be much worse.
There was a hope, after Rahul Gandhi's plea in Parliament, that the two-hectare cut-off point would not be imposed on dry-land farmers in places such as Vidharbha and Anantapur. But it was. The very places whose misery had sparked the idea of a loan waiver now stand mostly excluded from it.
There is a very important point the CAG report brings out that tends to get glossed over most of the time. That the farmer's world is not driven by agriculture alone. Farmers, whose incomes have been plummeting, have been hammered by education and health costs. The commercialisation of those sectors has hurt them, as it has countless millions of other Indians, very badly. That is on top of the stick they've taken in agriculture.
"Distress amongst farmers on account of cost of education was not measured." The "allocation of funds (Rs.3 crore at Rs.50 lakh per district) for health was meagre ..." It mentions the government's own survey showing that the health issues were huge and required much larger action.
One of the most important things the CAG points to is the State government evading its own findings. In mid-2006, the government organised what was the biggest door-to-door survey of farm households ever done. It covered over 17 lakh households, that is, all farming households in the six "crisis districts" of Washim,
In other words, close to seven million people were in distress in just six districts. That was the finding of the most massive study, powered by over 10,000 field workers. And a report of the State government itself, at that. (See: The Hindu, November 22, 2006)
Yet, says the CAG, "the selection of beneficiaries … had no relation to the departmental survey conducted for the assessment of distress. As a result, the prioritisation of relief and rehabilitation works considering the distress level of farmers could not be ensured." Why did the State government ignore its own study? Because the results of that huge survey are, to this day, explosive. Also, de-linking the distress survey from the packages meant you could reward your friends who might never have been in crisis.
Catalogue of failure
One line recurs in different ways through the CAG report: "Authenticity of reported expenditure was doubtful in the absence of proper classification of accounts." Throughout, the report is a catalogue of failure too serious to be written off as "error." On inputs, which farmers were desperate to get at reasonable prices, there was poor assistance. Farmers were hit hard by a poor supply of seed when they needed it most. Seed requirements for several crops, suggests the CAG, were simply not taken seriously. "The estimates were not realistic as these were made based on the amount allocated to this component and not based on actual requirement."
The CAG report captures at the top end, the state of things on the ground. Being a performance audit, it confines itself to that task. It is not a field report. However, the portrait it presents of the government's performance is a sharply accurate one. A picture that sits perfectly with the chaos at the receiving end below.
In the end, this is more than just a report. It is a snapshot, or a series of snapshots, of how governments, particularly the one in
The report is about the packages in this State. But if we extend our thinking a bit, it should lead us to reflect on things much larger. On the crisis in the countryside, on those being marginalised or just driven away. On regions beyond this one and on our attitude towards those who grow our food but can less and less afford to eat it themselves.
If you recent articles of p.sainath after touring vidarbha last week
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Date:23/06/2008 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2008/06/23/stories/2008062355111100.htm
Opinion - News Analysis
Fertilizer blues: from market yard to police yard
All transactions in the police yard occur under intense public scrutiny. In the marketplace, dealings are more opaque.
— Photo: P. Sainath
Policemen at the Washim station, from where fertilizer is being distributed, try to organise anxious farmers into queues. The angry farmers grudgingly concede the police are doing a good job.
"It's not an easy job," says Inspector Devidas Chaudhury, officer in-charge of the Washim police station. "But it has to be done. There could be serious trouble otherwise." Almost every officer and constable at the station, which appears under siege, are deployed here, right within their own compound. Only, the enforcers of law and order are not fighting angry mobs or staving off a terror attack. They're distributing fertilizer to furious farmers.
They are organising them into queues, creating lists and verifying coupons. And directing the close to 200 peasants crowding the station yard over a mike and public address system. There's a tragi-comical touch to it. Rarely has fertilizer been distributed under such tight security, by men in uniform. The cops are as bemused by the situation as the farmers are.
Fertilizer shortages have sparked unrest across large swathes of rural
Fertilizer shortfall in
So why did the fertilizer end up being distributed from the police station? And how do the cops go about it? Inspector Chaudhury admits the procedure is not written into the police manual. "But it will become our job anyway if there are riots in the marketplace, won't it," he asks. "There was terrific tension in the market. [Some dealers were too scared to open.] There was an imminent threat to law and order. In these troubled situations, where there are so many people gathered, pickpockets and others target poor farmers. Also, what if a stampede broke out? There were vulnerable older people there. I thought it best if we shifted it to the station where we would be in control."
"There was no choice, really," confirms Arvind Salve (Acting) Superintendent of Police in-charge of Washim. "You cannot protect every outlet in the market. So it made sense for it to work out of here. And some of the dealers feel safer, too." One of them, Vinay Biyani of the Vinayak Krishi Kendra, certainly does. "I alone have brought more than 300 metric tonnes of fertilizer to the station yard in the past five days," he says. The angry farmers grudgingly concede the police are doing a good job of it. "It was getting too much into the black market," says a chorus of voices. "At least here, there is some transparency."
All transactions in the police yard occur under intense public scrutiny. In the marketplace, dealings are more opaque. True, there are also farmers critical of the process but with everybody's nerves on edge, that seems natural.
From cotton to soybean
"It's not just fertilizer, seeds are also in short supply," say the assembled peasants. Interestingly, many of these farmers have shifted from cotton — for long the King in
"There are no seed problems in Washim," declares district Agriculture Officer N.V. Deshmukh. "There are none amongst private dealers," he says. But it appears that the seed given out under the Prime Minister's "relief package" has created confusion.
Who is entitled to these cheaper seeds? That question becomes more acute as prices rise. "The more real problem is the fertilizer, but I think that will also be overcome in a while," says Mr. Deshmukh. However, if the pause in the rains stretches much longer, farmers will have to go in for re-sowing. And there will be no subsidised seed the second time around. They could thus lose up to Rs.2,000 an acre.
In Chikhli in Buldhana district next door, the police caned a mob of farmers protesting what they saw as rigging in seed distribution. Here too, the dispute was over 1,600 bags of seed being handed out as part of the Prime Minister's package. In Pinjar in
'Impact of Gujjar agitation'
The State government believes the disruption of rail freight traffic by the Gujjar agitation led to the shortages, with fertilizer piling up at the ports. With the agitation ending, normalcy would return. "We have solved the problem of fertilizer," Agriculture Secretary Nanasaheb Patil told the journal AgroOne. "The Chief Minister himself has spoken to the Prime Minister and [the] Railway Minister asking for more rail wagons to move the held-up fertilizer."
On the ground, others are less sanguine. "There is the larger issue of a production shortfall and government's inept planning," says Kishor Tiwari of the Vidharbha Jan Andolan Samiti. "Imports will get tougher with global prices four times what they are here. The fuel price hike sends all prices soaring still further. So naturally, there is a demand for the subsidised, cheaper seed. Then there is the exploitation of scarcity. But most top dealers or distributors are well connected politically, the scions of important families, with links to government. Can they be arrested?"
Mr. Tiwari cites a third reason for the shortages. "Dealers backing cotton — in a region where Bt cotton now reigns supreme — fear the ongoing shift to soybean. That rapid shift would rob them of their golden goose. Hence the seed and fertilizer shortages target those trying to shift to soybean more than others."
Vidharbha's leading intellectual on agrarian issues, Vijay Jawandia, agrees. "The fortune of the input dealers is in Bt cotton seed. There is no benefit for them in the shift to soybean, at least for now."
"The immediate crisis might be resolved, but the problem won't go away," says Mr. Tiwari. One group of people fervently hoping it will go away are the cops at the Washim police station. Just now, though, they're too busy to say so. There is still all that fertilizer in their yard to distribute.
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Farmer relief package turns suicidal: CAG
THE GOVERNMENT has pumped in Rs 5,000 crore in the suicide belts of Vidarbha over the last two years. Yet, farmers continue to kill themselves. Now, a performance audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of
A report titled Performance Audit of Farmers Package by the CAG of India, has concluded that the package has failed in its basic purpose, that of reducing the agrarian crisis in the six affected districts of Vidarbha. The districts are Yavatmal,
"Reduction in farmers distress in Vidarbha does not inspire confidence,” the report emphatically states. Adding that unless corrective measures are taken, "The agrarian distress would start rising again in the closing years of the package. Such distress could increase significantly particularly after the moratorium of loan repayment expires," cautions Sunil Dadhe, the accountant general (audit) in his concluding remarks.
A survey, covering 41,663 farmers in 383 villages of the six districts worst hit by cotton failures in Vidarbha, was part of the CAG audit of the farmers packages announced by the state and central governments in 2006. It found that 36 per cent of farmers were not even aware of the state and central government packages.
The audit slams the government for weak monitoring, delays in payments of compensation and lack of coordination in implementing the packages. The audit conducted between March and June 2007 highlights some glaring deficiencies. It is the first report evaluating implementation of the packages since they were announced two years back.
The CAG report says that government directives for moneylenders to free farmers lands were turned down by the High Court when moneylenders approached it. Neither did the government challenge the court ruling nor did it strengthen the existing laws in favour of the farmers.
A door-to-door survey in 2006 by the state showed there were 13.48 lakh distressed and 4.34 lakh very distressed farmers in these six districts. But they were not considered when benefits were handed out. Short-term measures like help-lines and rescheduling loans were ineffective for most farmers. The report also questioned long-term goals, like creating irrigation potential and subsidiary occupations for farmers.
As per CAG report, it is now official that all claims made by the state administration as per as implementation of relief packages are concern were misleading and far away from the ground reality that has killed more innocent distressed Vidarbha farmers. Here is the detail of CAG report officially released by Maharashtran government.
Suicides by debt-ridden Vidarbha farmers have actually accelerated after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced the multi-crore relief package in 2006. The state administration is blamed for lack of co-ordination and a faulty implementation of plans.
The CAG statistics reveal that the suicide graph has been on the rise. From 712 farmers in 2005-06, to 1414 suicides in 2006-07 the total suicide deaths reported from April-July 2007-08 stood at 608. The report was tabled in the state legislature on Friday, hours before the seven-week budget session was prorogued.
Dadhe has demolished the state government’s claim, that alls well after funds flow from the relief package. In fact the CAG team has asserted that there is no monitoring of the implementation of the packages.
"Though the state created the Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swawalamban Mission (VNSSM) for monitoring of the implementation of the packages, it had no dedicated staff apart from its director general and a driver. Consequently, it failed to even watch the expenditure incurred by the implementing departments under various components,’ ’ the report said.
The auditors, who surveyed 363 villages covering 41,663 farmers, said the state failed to implement its announcements that farmers who took loans from unregistered moneylenders can treat themselves free from that loan. In fact, the CAG survey revealed that 75 per cent of their respondents were unaware of this announcement in absence of adequate and effective publicity.
The CAG report reveals that illegal money lenders have got relief from the courts after the assistant registrars of the cooperative societies (ARCS) declared the farmers free from debts. In 18 writ petitions filed by the money lenders the
"The government neither appealed against the orders (in the Supreme Court) nor took any remedial action like amendment of the relevant acts to secure the interests of the indebted farmers. Consequently the affected farmers did not get the intended benefit of the government decision of December 2005,’’ it said.
A scrutiny of the state government records in Amravati by the CAG has revealed that 224 eligible farmers were deprived of the compensation of Rs 2.14 lakh due to non-availability of funds, speaking volumes about the state administration’ s handling of the issue. The report said that many banks claimed interest without extending fresh loans to the distressed farmers. Of the 17.64 lakh farmers in the six districts, 9.29 lakh cases of loan having outstanding principle amount of Rs 1,369 crore were proposed to be rescheduled after waiver of interests.
However, fresh loans of Rs 673 crore (43 per cent) were given in 4.84 lakh cases. "The waiver of interest in all these cases did not help the families of the farmers concerned in income augmentation since loan was not rescheduled. Further the government waived interest on 1.92 lakh farm workers, though the packages did not envisage assistance to those who were not farmers,’’ the report said.
The Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) president Kishor Tiwari urged UPA government to order CBI. inquiry in this matter as issue of huge malpractices in more than Rs.5000 crore. This failure of relief package has resulted to more than 3000 suicides of farmers.
In fact VJAS has demanding that due to total apathy of administration and causal attitude, coupled with massive corruption has made this condition of rural Vidarbha so pathetic and aggravated that the agrarian crisis grew more after the announcement of relief package;as the relief did not reached the dying farmers in time even after the lapse of two year. It is the need of the time to provide food security health care to minimum 4.34 lakh farming families who are identified by administration as farmers in deep distress, Tiwari added.
Now most respected prime minister as advocacy group and true custodian of vidarbha agrarian crisis ,we are writing this humble request that if you look at 3 million distressed dying farm families condition and relief aid being denied at ground level by administration, it is high time for tou to visit vidarbha once again and announce the relief packge that will provide the much need relief to dying farming community as per recent report fresh crop loan is remote possibility and loan waiver has been eyewash once gaing we failed to target the dying farming community of vidarbha.
Which is Important-Nuclear Deal or dealing with Agrarian Crisis
dear prime minister for all big
Here farmers are dying as agriculture is non feasible activity and in US all big corporate are creating horizontal and vertical monopoly in food and consumer sector.
our 90% population is directly effected due this intervention of US seed corporate and their total control over all consumer commodities.
Vidarbha agrarian crisis is beginning of worst rural crisis ,today we are dying days are not far when this will be scenario all the
Please save dying vidarbha farmers by providing sustainable solution to agrarian cum rural crisis sir
For VIDARBHA JANANDOLAN SAMITI