Tuesday, May 3, 2011

'Anti-farmer Export-Import Policies' - 4 more Vidarbha farmers' end lives, toll this year 178-TIMES OF INDIA

Vidarbha farmers' end lives, toll this year 178-TIMES OF INDIA

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'Anti-farmer Export-Import Policies'-4 more Vidarbha farmers' end lives, Toll This year 178-TIMES OF INDIA

TNN | May 3, 2011, 01.05am IST

NAGPUR: Even as the state was celebrating 51st year of its formation and winding up golden jubilee ceremonies, the dance of death in farmlands of the backward Vidarbha region continued. Four debt-ridden farmers committed suicide in the region in the last 48 hours.

With these deaths, the toll has risen to 178 this year. The figure for last year was 748. In month of April alone, 41 farmers ended their lives in the region, according to the statistics compiled by the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), a NGO fighting for farmers' causes.

Among the latest victims of the agrarian crisis, two were from Yavatmal district known as epicentre of the farmer suicides and one each from Buldhana and Amravati. The victims were identified as Rajanna Kayapalliwar (45) of Salburdi, Bhaurao Shendur (55) of Saikheda (both in Yavatmal district), Govind Ghule (32) of Dhanora in Buldhana and Budharam Sonwane (76) of Amla in Amravati district. All of them died after consuming pesticide, the reports added.

Kishor Tiwari of VJAS claimed that Bhaurao Shendur of Saikheda was the seventh victim from the village. "Hit by crop failure and unable to repay their loans, cotton farmers in these dry-lands seek escape in death," he said. He also alleged that the special relief packages from the union and the state governments suffered from rampant corruption and lack of coordination among the implementing agencies.

Meanwhile, over 300 cotton farmers went on a day-long hunger strike at Pandharkawda on Sunday demanding the lifting of the ban on cotton exports. Tiwari said prices of cotton and pulses (tur dal) had fallen by more than 50% in the last month due to 'anti-farmer export-import policies' of the Centre. He alleged strong lobbying by the textile mill owners of south India, who wanted cheap raw material, had influenced the government into not allowing cotton exports when international demand was strong.

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