Monday, September 28, 2009

Kalavati withdrawal is forceful and unfortunate:Babaital Bais will continue the farm widows struggle

Kalavati withdrawal is forceful and unfortunate:Babaital Bais will continue the farm widows struggle

NAGPUR-29 th September 2009

as expected kalavati bandurkar icon of vidarbha agrarian crisis has succumbed to pressure of losing Rs.30 lac aid from sulbha international and congress party as she was known as Rahul Gandhi's Kalavati after he visited her hut and referred her plights
kishore tiwari of vidarbha janandolan samti has given chronological account of the events of her candidature in press note saying that on 5th September 2009 we called a meeting of Vidarbha farm widows mostly from Yavatmal district, and around 200 farm widows attended it. The meeting decided to demand:

1. Food for the dying families

2. Family pension to all widows

3. Free higher education, and aid for marriage of their daughters.

4. Right of land owned by their husband. Deprived of this right, most widows are forced to leave their homes.

The reason why the VJAS was trying to field a candidate in the coming elections was because the issue is being ignored by the State administration, and hence getting into the election process would have provided an opportunity to draw attention to these critical issues.

It was decided that as Kalawati Bandurkar is well-known, she was best suited for the task. After 8 days of making the choice known to her, Kalawati called me to inform that she is ready to contest provided her health permits.

It was only then that we announced her candidature, which was a breaking news. As Rahul Gandhi’s Kalawati, her name drew more than 200 journalists to interview her, hundreds of article and newsreports in media, and evoked concern in the political circles mainly in the Congress party, finally forcing her to change her decision.

Also, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak of Sulabh International wrote a letter to her asking her not to contest election. This was a major jolt to her as she is still awaiting to receive the entire Rs 30 lakhs that Pathak had promised to provide to her as aid (she has got Rs 6 lakh by now). Kalawati therefore announced the change in her thinking, and withdrew from the race.

Before that, Kalawati had come to Nagpur and clarified the stand that her contest is symbolic and the plight of farm widows and farm suicide issues should be taken up. She had announced that she would be filing her nomination on Sept 25.

This announcement brought more pressure on her. She withdrew later, after her own son-in-law threatened to commit suicide if she contested. VJAS therefore replaced her with Babitai Bais. I don't know why senior activists from some sections of the society are criticizing us for using these innocent widows to raise voice of farmers.

I also draw your attention to an elaborate interview of Kalawati published by the Times of India on Sept 27, 2009. This will help bring the issue to those who have not been able to follow the spate of developments involving Kalawati, and also help those who are outside India to put this blog in right perspective.

"We have decided that this time, a Vidarbha farmer's widow must be elected to the Assembly. It will be our way of tribute to the memory of over 7,000 debt-ridden farmers who committed suicide in the region. In September alone, 10 farmers killed themselves in Yavatmal district where over 1,600 people have died so far," VJAS President Kishore Tiwari said.

He reiterated that VJAS will make a serious attempt to "empower" the widows and farmers orphans of Vidarbha. He added that if a widow is elected from there then she will be their face in the Assembly.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kalavati Parshuram Bandurkar

Printed from

'Money is no longer a problem, being a celebrity is'

Kalavati Parshuram Bandurkar

widow and mother of nine, shot to fame when Rahul Gandhi mentioned her in Parliament last year. Soon enough, she was being feted by politicians and sought by the media. On the strength of her sudden celebrity status, this illiterate woman from a nondescript village in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district, recently agreed to contest the forthcoming assembly elections on a Swatantra Bharat Paksha (Sharad Joshi) ticket. The decision generated controversy and many advised her to stay out of politics. On Friday,she filed her nomination for Wani constituency, but late on Saturday, it remained unclear if she would stay the course.


caught up with Kalavati in Nagpur. Excerpts from the interview.

Why do you want to fight the elections?
I want help for the widows whose husbands have been forced to end their lives because of an agrarian crisis. The poor should get homes. It doesn’t matter if I win or not, but by contesting elections, I think, I can get them help from the Rahul Gandhi (government). I am not contesting to become an MLA but I want to attract Rahul’s attention towards the poor widows.

Rahul Gandhi made you famous. Why didn’t you ask him directly for a Congress party ticket?
I am not contesting to win. So, the question of rivalry with Rahul Gandhi or Congress does not arise. Rahul is my benefactor. Had it not been for him, I would have been the same ordinary Kalavati. But, providing help to me alone is not enough, there are others like me for whom I need to raise my voice.

Rahul said your family’s life would have been different had there been enough power in the country and you had access to it. Do you agree?
Well, power would be the last priority. I need to have a regular source of livelihood first. We shifted to Jalka village because we only had a three-acre patch of land in Chandrapur district. In Jalka, my family has been tilling rented land. Even if there were power to irrigate the fields, no one would have rented out an irrigated field to us. So, what I need first is land of my own to eke out a regular living.

Bindeshwar Pathak, who founded social service organization Sulabh Shauchalya and is one of your benefactors, has urged you to desist from politics as it indirectly means opposing Rahul Gandhi. What do you have to say to that?
Ask him to keep his word first. He had said he would give me Rs 30 lakh, which would lead to a monthly bank interest of Rs 25,000 for 20 years. But so far, I have only received Rs 6 lakh. A chunk of it has been spent on my daughter’s marriage and building a new house. They say I have become rich. Do you think
Rs 6 lakh is a big amount these days? It has to be at least a crore or so to be called rich. Pathak should stick to his promise and pay the remaining amount. I have heard that he has refused to give any more. It was written in the newspapers. My kids read it out to me.

Why are you annoyed with Bindeshwar Pathak? Had it not been for him, you wouldn’t have had any money at all?
That is true. But if he promised to pay Rs 30 lakh, it should be fulfilled.

How has life changed since you received the money?
I am a farmer even today. I go to the fields, monitor the labourers from 10 in the morning to 5 in the evening and even have my lunch there. What has changed is that we no longer have to skip a meal and the kids can wear good clothes. Money is no longer a problem. Earlier, life was tough, we had either to eat a very frugal meal or starve at times.

What drove your husband to end his life?
He owed Rs 1 lakh, all borrowed from relatives. Three of our daughters were married within the two-year period before he died. In 2005, the fourth daughter’s marriage was fixed. That fateful day, he went to the fields worrying how he would arrange to repay the money. We had a poor harvest that year and hardly anything could be spared after paying the landlord. In desperation, he ended his life.

Would you withdraw from this election if Rahul Gandhi asks you to?
Let Rahul Gandhi provide a solution for the troubles of 6,000 other widows like me and then I will withdraw from contesting the elections.

Do you understand the importance of being an elected representative?
May be not, but I will become seasoned with time.

Do you dream of going to Delhi and become an important politician like Sonia Gandhi?
Wani (the constituency from where she is contesting) is Delhi for me. What is the need to go all the way to Delhi? Politics in villages is equally complex and I am slowly learning the tricks. It is indeed very interesting.

Are you in touch with Rahul or anyone from his office?
No, but several other persons,
including journalists, have been coming to my house. I don’t know if there was someone from Congress too. But, then, it was only due to Rahul’s visit to my village I got all the help, if not directly from him.

Are you scared about being treated like a celebrity?
Yes, I was a little scared initially when people came to meet me. But not now, I am used to everything.

Monday, September 14, 2009

After vidarbha five farmers now farm lady killed herself in last 72 hours

After vidarbha five farmers now farm lady killed herself in last 72 hours: despair and distress in drought hit area on alarming situation after devastation of Bt cotton crop on 3.2 million hector in Maharashtra .

Nagpur-14th September 2009

Farm lady worker sundana pandurang barallawar due to deep stress on not getting the farm work in the village mukutban in zari taluka of yavatmal district yesterday in addition to five more innocent farmers suicide in cotton belt of vidarbha taking toll to 668 in the year 2009 , informed Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti in press note today

The recent victims are

1.Sahebrao Deshmukh in Yawali Shahid of Amaravati

2.Devendra Kurhade in Arvi of Wardha .

3.Ramdas Choudhari in Bhedgaon of Chandrapur

4.Sharad Bhoyar in Rui-Wai of Yavatmal

5.Gajanan Dawas in Warud of Yavatmal.

“the pest epidemic is damaging the cotton crop and there is NREGA work in the vidarbha where as NRHM and PDS schemes is collapsed resulting farmers and farm workers suicides .Ministers and officers are too busy in election to look at these dying people of Maharashtra where as some of lower level officers are denying the basic relief in the name of moral code of conduct ,it’s much disturbing to see on going political drama in the mist of this gloom” tiwari said

‘On cotton crop now there is military worm attack in addition to white fly, aphids ,jessids, thriph ,mealy bug means all types of sucking pest along with deadly layla (reding of leaves) attack has come,it means all over’ Prem chavan of village Maregaon(son) in kelapur –yavatmal informed .

“In the mega advertisement of bt.cotton seed ,farmers are told that Cotton plants are having Drought tolerance and,the Genetically Engineered Bacillus Thuringenesis that cotton seed has capacity to produce antibiotic resistance to pest attack resulting in lower use of contact and non contact type pesticide and insecticide now days not only inbuilt toxin failed but there is response to all pesticide and insecticide”,informed Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti in press note .

It’s worst epidemic of pest attack on cash crops of rain fed Vidarbha and Marathwada,the backward portion of progressive Maharashtra which are soybean and cotton ,initially military worm damaged all standing soybean crop now this sucking pest will certainly off set rural economic balance of the region creating more despair and distress among the debt trap dying farmers ,Tiwari added..

Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti(VJAS) has urged administration to provide immediate aid to assistance to these cotton farmers who are already disturbed due huge debt and economic crisis due on going agrarian crisis in the region . “this pest epidemic on standing cotton crop will spread distress and farm suicide spiral of West Vidarbha to in near by Marathwada,Khandesh,North Mahrashtra and East Vidarbha hence urgent attention is needed to save million of dying farmers of Maharashtra” Tiwari added

Saturday, September 12, 2009

VJAS urged Bt (GM )Cotton Promoters to visit devastation of cotton crop on 3.2 million hector in Maharashtra .

VJAS urged Bt (GM )Cotton Promoters to visit devastation of cotton crop on 3.2 million hector in Maharashtra .

Nagpur-13th September 2009

Those who claims that Bt (GM )Cotton plants are having Drought tolerance and,the Genetically Engineered Bacillus Thuringenesis popularly known as Bt. cotton seed has capacity to produce antibiotic resistance to pest attack resulting in lower use of contact and non contact type pesticide and insecticide and drastic increase in yield of cotton should visit Maharashtra to see devastation of cotton crop on 3.2 million hector where innocent farmers struggling to save standing cotton crop being ruined by sucking pest of various types of aphids ,jessids, thriph and mealy bug has damaged more than 50% plants and now the very notorious killer disease known as “lalya” has been reported in most of districts of Maharashtra who have opted very costly Bt.cotton seed of US base MNCs Monsanto (a company that produces and markets a broad range of seeds developed with biotechnology ahs monopoly in India and this year in the market it was only Bt.cotton seed for cultivation that’s total replacement to Indian hybrid seed due to state owned promotion of this MNCs due to malafide interest Indian Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar who is defacto owner of Monsanto India), creating panic in the region Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti urged in press release today.

“We have been crying against the commercial trials of these Bt (GM )Cotton seed since 2005 when it was permitted and it failed that year and Maharashtra Govt. compensated Bt. Cotton crop failure due to attack of “lalya” to more than 1 million cotton farmers but instead of banning this killer seed ,it is being officially promoted ,now our cry is the reality but no body who is claiming dreaming benefits of Bt.cotton is visiting in Maharashtra cotton belt.

In last five year not only more than 7000 cotton farmers who opted to cultivate Bt.cotton have killed them selves but Govt. of India and local Govt.’s all bailout packages amounting to tune of more than Rs.24,000/- crore failed control agrarian crisis .now more than 2 million cotton growers are in huge debt and mounting despair and distress aggravating the agrarian crisis in the region .

The main reasons of Bt.cotton failure are

1.Cost of seed is four times than conventional hybrid seed

2.Requirement of fertilizer and pesticides for Bt.cotton seed is very high as per data of sale of fertilizer and pesticide increased almost six times in last 4 years in the cotton belt of maharashtra

3.Cost of cotton cultivation has jumped to almost five times in last 4 years but return on investment has decreased considerably resulting huge debt and massive default in institutional finance.

(Nabard has reduced agriculture credit target almost to 40% in comparison to it’s 2006 credit target due to poor recovery of crop loan in this cotton growing region in spite of mega loan waiver and relief packages and there is no significant increase in cotton procurement data in last three season as in Maharashtra it’s mostly state owned agency involved as main procurement agency )

VJAS urged scientific community to visit Maharashtra to see the truth of the propaganda related to GM cotton crops is that they have changed economic condition of cotton farmers . Bt cotton failed to resist drought, increase pesticide and fertilizer pollution more over it has degraded soil and forest to bring sudden climate change this year.moreover it’s very serious impact is as per Dr.vandan shiva’s Navdanya’s research in Vidarbha, Maharashtra, which has been proved that Bt cotton is killing beneficial micro-organisms in the soil. Reports of deaths of animals grazing in Bt cotton fields are also related to the fact that Bt toxin in plants is a broad spectrum, readymade toxin unlike the naturally occurring Bt in the soil organism. (Andhra Pradesh’s animal husbandary department’s report takes note of an increasing number of deaths of animals and pests who graze in Bt cotton fields.)

Now VJAS totally support Dr.vandana shiva’s demand to authentic, unbiased, independent and holistic science to inform the GM crop reality, not the false propaganda being peddled as science.

“Those who support humanity ,they should urge Indian Govt. to stop these mass genocide of cotton farmers in the name GM revolution” Kishore Tiwari asked for urgent intervention.

Friday, September 11, 2009

18% Vidarbha farmer suicides in 2009 genuine, says govt-Times Of India Pune

Printed from

18% Vidarbha farmer suicides in 2009 genuine, says govt

AMRAVATI: The spate of farmer suicides is continuing in Vidarbha region. Hundreds of farmers have ended their lives this year but few have proved to be eligible to be counted as genuine cases, resulting in their kin not getting compensation or other benefits from the government. Activists claimed that the officials are merely following the orders from the chief minister's office to keep farmer suicide numbers as low as possible.

Though the situation has improved after implementation of the packages, the numbers are still worrying. In year 2009, till July 31, around 466 farmers in six suicide prone districts committed suicide. But only 86 - roughly 18.45% - were considered eligible for compensation which government offers to the next of kin. Ninety-six cases are under probe and 284 cases have been rejected by government. From 2001 to July 31 this year, 5,503 farmers committed suicide out of which 2,030 cases were found eligible for benefits of the government while 3,377 were non eligible and 96 are under investigation.

Sources from the commissionerate stated that a compensation of Rs 1 lakh is provided to eligible beneficiaries of which Rs 30,000 paid in cash while Rs 70,000 deposited in the account of the farmer. Only those cases in which farmers committed suicide due to in indebtedness, excess follow up by a bank or moneylender for repayments and low yield are considered to be eligible for the compensation. The district collector heads a committee which comprises officials of the departments concerned and NGO representatives to review farmer suicide cases. Talathi of the village does the enquiry of the farmers on various grounds and then eligibility of the beneficiary is decided.

Kishor Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, while talking to TOI, claimed that Chief Minister Ashok Chavan himself had told officials not to show more number of beneficiaries on record and officials are following the orders. Tiwari also said that the administration has put forth the flimsy reasons to reject the case. "The administration is insensitive towards the problems of the farmers," he said. The government issued a GR regarding non-eligible beneficiaries in February this year in which it was stated that the benefits of the Antyodaya Scheme should be extended to the widows of farmers who were not considered eligible for ex-gratia. "Except Yavatmal district, this scheme is not being implemented properly," said Tiwari.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

'स्वतंत्र विदर्भाबाबत केंद्राने मत मागवले'-Maharashtra Times

'स्वतंत्र विदर्भाबाबत केंद्राने मत मागवले'
8 Sep 2009, 1803 hrs IST

म . टा . विशेष प्रतिनिधी । नागपूर

विदर्भाच्या समस्या महाराष्ट्रात सुटू शकत नसतील तर विदर्भाचे स्वतंत्र राज्य करावे , अशी स्पष्ट सूचना नियोजन आयोगाने व महालेखाकारांनी अहवालात केली आहे . एवढेच नव्हे तर , केंद्र सरकारने यावर महाराष्ट्र सरकारचे व राज्यपालांचे मत मागवले आहे , अशी माहिती विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीचे नेते किशोर तिवारी यांनी मंगळवारी येथे दिली .

विदर्भाच्या समस्यांवर जे राजकीय पक्ष तोडगा काढण्यासाठी विशेष कार्यक्रम देणार नाहीत , त्या राजकीय पक्षाच्या उमेदवाराला गावात प्रवेश देऊ नका , असे आवाहन करण्यासाठी विधानसभा निवडणूक पार्श्वभूमीवर समिती जागरण यात्रा काढणार असल्याचे तिवारी यांनी सांगितले . जो पक्ष शेतकऱ्यांच्या प्रश्ासाठी , विदर्भाच्या विकासासाठी आणि स्वतंत्र विदर्भाच्या अस्तित्वासाठी जाहीरनाम्यात उल्लेख करणार नाही , अशा पक्षांच्या उमेदवारांवर मतदारांनी बहिष्कार टाकावा , यासाठीही जागरण यात्रेदयम्यान दिवसरात्र फिरण्याचा मनोदय त्यांनी व्यक्त केला . मतदारांनी प्रत्येक राजकीय पक्षाला विदर्भातील भीषण परिस्थितीचा जाब विचारावा , असे आवाहन करून तिवारी यांनी समिती निवडणुकीत सक्रीय राहणार असल्याचेही जाहीर केले .

जून 2005 पासून विदर्भात प्रत्येक आठ तासांना एक शेतकरी आत्महत्या करीत आहे , आता हा आकडा 6,200 वर गेला आहे , असे सांगून तिवारी यांनी गेल्या पाच वर्षांत 20 हजारांवर आदिवासी बालकांचा कुपोषणाने मृत्यू झाल्याचा दावा केला . तिवारी यांनी म्हटले की , विदर्भात भारनियमनामुळे उद्योग बंद झाल्याने एक लाखांवर युवकांचे रोजगार हिरावण्यात आले . ग्रामीण विदर्भातील शेती संकट , सिंचनाचा अनुशेष आणि विदर्भाचा आर्थिक विकासाचा दर शून्याखाली गेला . याला राज्यकर्त्यांचे धोरणच कारणीभूत आहे .

आदिवासींना खावटी कर्ज , शेतकऱ्यांना पीककर्ज , तेंदूपत्ता मजुरांना बोनस , गरिबांना बीपीएल व अंत्योदय योजनांचा लाभ का देण्यात येत नाही , असा प्रश् विचारून राज्यपाल एस . सी . जमीर यांनी विदर्भाच्या विपन्न अवस्थेचा 117 पानांचा अहवाल दिला असल्याचा दाखला तिवारी यांनी दिला

Separate vidarbha state is onlt way-DR.Ramakant Pitale

separate vidarbha state is only way to remove the existing backwardness
of the region as per reports of planing commission and CAG .
here is detail writeup of Dr.Ramakanat Pitale
former Member of National Commission of Farmer (NCF)
published by Tarun Bharat
Nagpur on 14th June 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

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

Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times
Nagpur, September 06, 2009

When a high-level team from the centre was visiting different districts and assessing the loss because of drought in the region, 11 more farmers from Vidarbha ended their lives since September 1. A central team has come here to make an on-the-spot study of drought-hit districts of Vidarbha region.

According to reports reaching Nagpur on Sunday, among the victims, four were from Yavatmal, three from Amravati, two from Buldhana and one each from Gondia and Akola district. Nine farmers killed themselves by swallowing pesticides while two ended their lives by hanging themselves, reports said.

Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti claimed that most of the farmers had taken the drastic step because of crop failure. Paddy, Soyabean and cotton crops were badly affected because of paucity of rains in the region, he pointed out.

An average two farmers now commit suicide every day in the region. As many as 48 farmers have committed suicide in Vidarbha last month while the figure was 784 last year. The farmers' pressure groups in Nagpur attributed rising costs of cultivation, low rate of remunerative price of agriculture produces, lack of credit availability for small and marginal farmers and repeated crop failures are the main reasons for such a pathetic state of farmers in the region.

The former Shetkari Sanghatana president Vijay Jawandhia demanded that the government should declare a total moratorium on the farm loans in view of the situation of farmers in Vidarbha till the crisis ends.

Tiwari insisted that the government should also provide food security for farmers of Vidarbha to prevent more deaths.