Friday, September 30, 2011

Aparna Malikar-Life, before and after KBC-Times of India

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Aparna Malikar-Life, before and after KBC

NAGPUR: Aparna Malikar was living a miserable life after her husband Sanjay committed suicide in 2008. She was suddenly responsible for paying a farm loan she never knew her husband had taken. Her in-laws disowned her, did not allow her to take part in the funeral, and refused to feed her or the two children. Above all, the farm cultivated by the family was embroiled in a legal dispute over ownership and the other party was close to winning the case.

Then, luck smiled on her and Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) happened. Aparna received a call from Swapna Nayar, who had been given Aparna's name by farm activist Kishore Tiwari, who heads the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti. Today, life is on a completely different trajectory now that she has won Rs 6.5 lakh on the game show.

However, it was not all that easy for Aparna. KBC personnel first interviewed her at length. Then, Nayar came down to meet her, see her surroundings and watch her working on the farm.

"I had hardly gone out of the house for some five years after my marriage in 2005. Let alone visiting other cities, the most I travelled was to Pandharkawda. I used to restrict myself to the home and take care of my kids," Aparna says.

Like most women in rural areas, at 25, Aparna was contented with her family of husband and two little daughters - Rohini (7) and Samruddhi (3). However, the world came crashing down when her husband, a cotton farmer, committed suicide in 2008 due to mounting debt.

Aparna was also left facing a family disputes, where she accused her brother-in-law and former deputy mayor Raghunath Malikar of not paying any attention to her family. "After my hubby's death, I was forced out during the last rites and never allowed to speak to the police. In fact, false charges were levelled against my father and brother, and they spent 10 days in jail."

She says that even though she was in a state of shock her in-laws, including Raghunath, never came to her help. She was left alone to fend for herself and her kids. "Me and the kids remained hungry for about three days, with only the villagers helping us," she says.

However, she fought against all odds and took up farming on their six acre plot of land. She started tilling the land to pay off the farm loan that her husband had taken without telling her. Slowly, she not only became adept at farming, but also learnt many intricacies of the profession. "I now use only organic manure made at home using human and animal waste. I want thousands widows like me to live a dignified life," she says.

Aparna also took up the challenge of saving other women facing similar tragedies. She and other women in her Self Help Group (SHG) fought hard to close down a liquor shop in their village. "Our village was in the grip of liquor. First we approached the police, but when they failed to take action we barged into the shop, damaged their stock and forced it to close down," she says.

Then came the invite from KBC and her meeting with Amitabh Bachchan, which left the superstar dazzled and impressed. Aparna, however, was not dazzled by the glitzy world she saw outside her village.

After the KBC win that gave her the license to dream, she has made the education of her children the immediate priority. "I don't mind joining politics, but I am concerned about the education of my daughters. I want them to take up careers like engineering and medical. I never wish them to take up farming, which I this is the worst profession in India."

Despite the huge change of luck, life will still not be easy for Aparna. She is all set to lose her six-acre farm, which she cultivated herself after her hubby's death. "The farm was disputed property, and the opposite party has won the legal battle. But I've some land in my husband's name, and I also plan to open a beauty salon, since I've completed a diploma in beauty parlour. I would have thought of opening another, bigger business, if I had answered the Rs 12 lakh question correctly."


KBC Aparna Malikar was nervous on TV, and at home too-TIMES OF INDIA

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Aparna was nervous on TV, and at home too

VARA-KAWTHA (Yavatmal): Thursday was a big day for the villagers here. Their biggest idol, the courageous Aparna Malikar who won Rs 6.40 lakh in KBC to make them proud and the village a much visible blip on India map, was to appear on Kaun Banega Crorepati at 8.30pm. She was also the topic of discussion in the adjoining town of Pandharkawda and other villages.

The day was special to Aparna as she would be getting the prize money of Rs 6.40 lakh as per the contract after the episode was telecast.

After performing the aarti at the Devi pandal at 7pm on their way back from the fields, the villagers started taking position in front of the TV. At about 8.20pm, many including sarpanch Nirmala Gore, started thronging Aparna's small hut constructed from soil and cow dung, and a tin sheet. There was excitement in her home as well as at the neighbours.

However, to their disappointment, the earlier contestant Satish Kumar from Allahabad had not completed his turn. People in Aparna's house waited patiently with some even trying to guess the answers to questions posed by Amitabh Bachchan.

At 9pm there was a commercial break. Finally, Aparna appeared on television. Draped in a yellow sari on the show, she seemed to be nervous initially. At home too. Her elder daughter Rohini was very happy and kept muttering away pointing to the TV. Aparna could barely watch as she was continuously either receiving calls or informing others to watch the show.

On the show, Aparna was accompanied by Manjusha Ambarwar, daughter of another farmer who committed suicide. Manjusha is now pursuing journalism from Nagpur University.

Bachchan tried to make Aparna comfortable by asking her story. While narrating the saga of her husband committing suicide, Aparna got nervous and successfully managed to hold back her tears.

The first question was on beehive and Aparna fully knowing her limitations started using lifelines. Even Big B was amused by her move but she was on the track. She used three lifelines smartly while answering five questions correctly.

Her daughter, studying in second standard at New Model English School at nearby Bori village, was the happiest lot. "Today my teacher and my friends were asking me about the episode and I am very happy," she says. Aparna's younger daughter Samruddhi had fallen asleep.

Aparna quit the game after the seventh question though she later she correctly answered the question of who had written over 4,000 abhangs in praise of Lord Vittal of Pandharpur (Sant Tukaram).

Gore praised Aparna for her courage and dedication. As Big B bid good night after dedicating a poem to her, Aparna told the audience at her home that she felt very happy to meet the superstar. After climbing down from the chairs, Big B told Aparna that he will send her the money which he asked her to deposit in a bank.

"I felt relieved and was happy to meet him. Till that moment I felt I was in my dreams. Today I am relived a dream that has changed my life forever," she said.

Power snag disrupts show

A power snag very early disrupted the show but fortunately it was restored in 10 minutes. Everybody was criticizing the electricity board officials for the same. But as soon as power returned, happiness was visible on everybody's face.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

vidarbha farmers out of the bank, into the money-lender's trap-DNA

Out of the bank, into the money-lender's trap

DNA / Yogesh Pawar / Sunday, September 25, 2011 8:00 IST

"Will you come in now?" screams 50-year-old Tanhibai Kale of Ganeshpur village in Jhari Jhamni tehsil of Yavatmal, the heart of Vidarbha's suicide country. Lightening streaks across the darkened skies, followed by loud thunder. Her drenched nine-year-old grandson Nandu comes in from the downpour and tries to slink in but not before getting two slaps. "Next, you'll fall ill and we'll have to go looking for money to treat you," the matriarch scolds as he whimpers.

The crying seems to spark something. "Why don't we all die? Then all our problems will be over for good," she says angrily wiping her own tears.

It has been a week since her 53-year-old husband Jhabaram committed suicide by consuming pesticide. "He wouldn't sleep at night, and kept worrying about how we could raise money to repay the Rs1.5 lakh we had borrowed," she recounts.

The family ran into problems after rains ravaged their crop earlier this year. They re-sowed the fields, but the rains wouldn't let up and the second crop also began wilting. Jhabaram got anxious about raising money to repay his loan to the local Yavatmal co-operative bank. "He tried going to local money lenders but when they refused, he went to the field and drank pesticide…" her voice trails off. The anger comes back. "This boy (pointing to her 27-year-old epileptic son Sachin) is useless. All he's done is produce a child (Nandu). And this girl (pointing to her 19-year-old daughter Suvarna, a XII-std failure) is a lodestone around our necks. No boy will marry her without a sizeable dowry, and where do we get money for that from?"

To make matters worse, the local talati (village officer) Suresh Dhavale wants a bribe of Rs10,000 to recommend them for the state government relief of Rs1 lakh given to families of farmers who commit suicide due to agri-debt.

In village after village, we encounter the same story: Of dead farmers whose bereaved families are being made to run from pillar to post to get even basic compensation. Figures at the Yavatmal Collectorate show that since 2001, there have been 2,184 farmer suicides. Of these, only 648 have got the Rs1 lakh compensation. "Look, the rules were not made by me. These guidelines and criteria have come from the Central government and we have to go by them," says Yavtamal Collector Shravan Hardikar.

Fifty kilometres away at Hevra Barsa village, we meet Balwant Namdeo Devalwar, 40, who's caught in a debt spiral. After crop failures in 2005, he didn't have enough money for seeds the next year, and borrowed Rs60,000 from the Central Bank. As luck would have it, excessive rain was followed by poor rain in 2006 and his crop failed again, leading him to default on his debt. "The debt kept mounting and I would run out the back door whenever I heard the officials coming to make enquiries," he says.

This carried on till the Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme (ADWDRS) launched by UPA-I in 2008 assured him of a 25% waiver. The scheme allows only farmers who own less than 5 acres a complete waiver. Since he owns 17 acres, he couldn't benefit.

These criteria have often been criticised but the government refuses to change them. "In Western Maharashtra, a farmer who owns five acres can own two cars and a tractor, and is well-off. Here in Vidarbha, even a 20-acre farm owner is living hand to mouth," points out Mohan Jadhav of the farmers' advocacy group Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti.

A National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) survey earlier this year found that despite the Rs65,318.33 crore already doled out to farmers under the ADWDRS, nearly 43.42 million (48.6%) of the 89.35 million farmer households in India are still indebted. According to the survey, the figures for Maharashtra stand at 54.8%, despite the ADWDRS.

Devalwar borrowed from a local money lender and sold off his bullocks for Rs35,000 so that he could repay the outstanding amount of his loan and apply afresh. "I got Rs95,000 from the Central Bank in August last year. I've now been hiring bullocks at Rs500 a day for my field and successive crop-failure means I am in default with the both the bank and the money lender."

Despite their reputation, money lenders find many takers. Devalwar explains: "The bank keeps making you go back and forth 20-25 times and yet there is no guarantee you will get the loan in time. A few farmers who applied in early April are getting the loans only now, in September, when the kharif season is over. Though we know how ruthless money lenders are, we are left with no choice."

Collector Hardikar says he had a meeting with the banking heads in the district and told them to process farm loan applications on priority. "The banks have distributed over Rs750 crore this year alone," he points out. But Hardikar cannot explain why poor farmers are left out. "This needs to be systemically addressed at the policy level," is all he offers.

Meanwhile, farmers in urgent need of compensation to repay the bank and the money lender find that the only way out of this debt trap is death.

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Bt cotton crop washed away in vidarbha-DNA Reports

Bt cotton crop washed away by 0.0mm rainfall

DNA / Yogesh Pawar / Sunday, September 25, 2011 8:00 IST

Step into the fields with your shoes on and you realise why it makes sense to walk barefoot like Rameshwar Golewar of Kolejhari in Kalam tehsil of Yavatmal district in Vidarbha's suicide country. Your foot slips till the ankle into the soggy clay-like field. "It has rained so much in the last week that my entire crop is ruined," points out Golewar as he looks around the wilting cotton crop on his 12 acre field.

The rains have brought a double whammy. Not only has the rain halted the flowering midway, but has also led to rampant growth of weeds. "If I employ labour to remove weeds, the cost is prohibitive, so I have decided to use weedicide instead. Even a drop of the strong chemical is enough to destroy whatever is left of the cotton. But what choice do I have?"

Farmers like him are caught in a bind even while agro MNCs with a nod from the government are laughing their way to the bank. Authorities first encouraged farmers in Vidarbha to opt for genetically modified Bt cotton, saying the yield will be huge. Despite initial resistance, aggressive campaigning by brand ambassadors like Nana Patekar saw many a farmer convert in the hope they would make a killing.

"With our native species, even if flowering failed due to excessive rain in the first half of the season, we would still manage at least some yield since the plants flower again. Bt cotton only flowers once and any failure means re-sowing the expensive Rs1,200-a-packet seeds," says Golewar's neighbour, Ambadas Rathod, who is also calculating his losses.

The blitzkrieg on high yield hadn't informed farmers of how high the cost of fertiliser would be or how pesticide-intensive this species is. "At Rs1,000 a kilo, I spent nearly Rs10,000 on fertiliser alone, and a further Rs12,000 per litre on 6-litre pesticide. Now all that money and my hard work has been washed away," says Rathod.

At the Yavatmal collectorate, a tehsil-wise report submitted to the district collector on rain in the past 24 hours tells a completely different story. The figures for Kalam say 0.00 mm rains. When told of the anomaly between the report and the ground reality, collector Shravan Hardikar has an explanation ready: "The hydrometers which gauge rain are located in the tehsil office. It is impossible to keep track of local instances of high precipitation."

None of the farmers can seek compensation for their losses until the local tehsildar and collector send a recommendation with a panchanama of the loss. Once the district administration shows on record that rains are normal, farmers are left high and dry with their rotting crop.

Attempts to involve collector Hardikar on this issue are met with resistance. "I go by figures in front of me. There may be claims of heavy rain, but statistics with me show that we have only got 84% of the total rainfall we get by this time of the year," he insists. "I have visited Yerat and Tipeshwar and the farm produce seems quite healthy. In fact, it looks like we are expecting a bountiful crop this season."

Even in instances when a panchanama was made, farmers got nothing. Both in Kolejhari and in Baarsa, 80 kms away, farmers are still awaiting compensation for losses in 2005-06. "We know that the funds arrived because compensation was given to farmers in villages with the right political contacts. But we are yet to see any money despite numerous costly reminder trips to the tehsil and collectorate office," says Namdeo Jindewar of Kolejhari.

Little wonder then that there is such despondence in the region, and Yavatmal continues to remain the capital of suicide country.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vidarbha farmer's widow wins Rs 6.4L in KBC-TIMES OF INDIA

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Vidarbha farmer's widow wins Rs 6.4L in KBC

NAGPUR: In an incident echoing the script of movie Slumdog Millionaire, a poor widow of a financially distressed farmer has won Rs 6.40 lakh in hugely popular show Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC). Aparna Mallikar, who hails from Yavatmal district, plans to use the money to pay off her debts and educate her children.

Tears flowed down her cheek when Amitabh Bachchan asked her to recall her life which was full of tragedies. Aparna, however, kept her wits and beat the odds by correctly answering questions put to her. Hailing from little known hamlet of Vara-Kawatha in Yavatmal district, she was selected to represent the farm widows of Vidarbha. The special episode of KBC will be aired on Thursday September 29 at 9pm.

Aparna's name was recommended by Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) president Kishor Tiwari. He was approached by Sony Entertainment executives wanting to raise different social issues through the programme. Her story had been a tragic one. Her husband Sanjay, a progressive cotton farmer, had committed suicide in 2008 on account of mounting debt and persistent crop failure.

Her world came crashing down and she was left alone to look after two daughters Rohini, then 7, and Samruddhi (3). At 25, she fought the odds and took up farming on their six acres. Until then, she wasn't even aware that her husband had taken a loan from urban bank.

On the show, Aparna was lucky to have company of another brave girl Manjusha Ambarwar from the same district that has gained notoriety of having highest number of farmer suicides. Manjusha's father Ramdas was among the first ones to kill himself for same reason. Now, this 18-year-old is pursuing a journalism degree from the Nagpur University. Aparna's father Arun Tathe accompanied the two to Mumbai.

Thanks to the show, both these women stepped into an aeroplane and also in a 5-star hotel for the first time. During her teen years, Aparna had seen many Amitabh movies. She has also watched him on KBC. Her dreams of seeing him became reality last Saturday when the episode was recorded. "It still seems like a dream," an elated Aparna told TOI from her home in Vara-Kawatha.

She still has a debt of Rs 60,000 that she intends to pay back once she gets the money. "I will be providing good education to my daughters and rest will be used for repairing my home. It is an old house and needs repairs," she says. Moved by her plight, Bachchan personally offered her an additional Rs 50,000.

Despite being tenth fail student, Aparna cleverly used her lifelines to correctly answer as many as six questions on the show. "I would like to offer help to over 13,000 widows living miserable life just like me after their husband took extreme step for mounting debts and crop failures," she adds.

Currently pursuing Class XII from YCMOU, she also spoke on increasing number of farmers' suicides in the region and need for sustainable farming. She quit the show after seventh question. "Somewhere in my mind, I was aware that correct answer was Sant Tukaram but didn't want to risk anything as all my lifelines were exhausted," she points put.

Tiwari said he had been approached by the producers and suggested Aparna's name as her life was an example. "Swapna Nayar associated with show called me up and she went all the way to village to actually see how Aparna works in a farm. She spoke to her and other villagers before the special show," he said.

Nayar told TOI from Mumbai that she had read several reports on agrarian crisis of Vidarbha and even an article narrating the plight of widows. The VJAS chief added that even Big B had assured to provide help to the debt-ridden farmers in the region. Renowned director Deepa Bhatia, former censor board chief Sharmila Tagore, Magsaysay award recipient P Sainath and national BJP president Nitin Gadkari were other celebrities are giving helping hand to vidarbha farm widows .

It was a dream come true for 20-year-old Manjusha as well to meet and interact with the superstar. Though she was not on the hot seat, she described the horrific conditions of farmers in the region and the factors that led to commit suicide. "I told them about substandard seeds being sold to the farmers and its impact on farming. They told me not to use them and I said we had no alternative," she said. Hailing from another Yavatmal village - Telang Takali - she plans to highlight agrarian distress after joining the media.

Big B moved by farmers' plight

Bachchan was so moved by the Aparna's plight that after competing shooting at 2.30 am, he wrote a blog stating that he didn't have words to express his anguish and grief at this state. "But there it was. Stark, brutal and honest," he writes terming her story as "incredible". He was amazed that Aparna still wore her Mangalsutra. "She still keeps wearing it because she fears harassment from other men. She is resolved and doesn't want to give up," he says.

"Tonight was the lady who's husband, a farmer in the Vidarbha, committed suicide because he was unable to repay his loan. Suicides in this region have reached alarming proportions," he wrote.

"There are so many of them that are resorting to this form of ending their lives because they are unable to repay their loans and are unable to find a remunerative medium in their business of farming. They leave behind a family. But they are gone and they have left behind a whole lot of people that now face the consequences of their absence," Bachchan explained.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Farm suicide widow wins Rs. 6.40 lakh on KBC-HINDU

Published: September 12, 2011 19:51 IST | Updated: September 12, 2011 19:52 IST

Farm suicide widow wins Rs. 6.40 lakh on KBC

Special Correspondent
Amitabh Bachchan at the fifth season of the quiz show 'Kaun Banega Crorepati'.
Special Arrangement Amitabh Bachchan at the fifth season of the quiz show 'Kaun Banega Crorepati'.

“I knew the answer was Sant Tukaram but I wasn’t sure. I didn’t want to lose the money I had already earned,” says Aparna Malikar whose husband Sanjay, a farmer in Vidarbha, committed suicide in 2008.

Aparna, 27, never imagined that one day she would be answering questions in a quiz contest with the host being none other than Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan who was moved enough to give her an additional Rs. 50,000 so that she could pay off her loans. Talking to The Hindu on the phone from her village Vara Kawtha in Yavatmal district, on Monday, she said she and another young woman were selected for the quiz contest Kaun Banega Crorepati and they were in Mumbai last weekend to shoot for the episode. She won Rs. 6.40 lakh after answering three questions correctly and also used three lifelines permitted to ask her friends and the audience for help with the answers. The episode will be aired later this month.

Blogging after the shoot, Mr. Bachchan wrote early Sunday, “I did not have words to be able to express my anguish and grief at this State. But there it was. Stark, brutal and honest.”

“I would have won Rs. 12 lakh had I got the last question I was asked correct but I didn’t take a chance,’’ Aparna said. She will use the money for the education of her two daughters aged seven and three. Educated upto the tenth standard, Aparna has been supported by well wishers and by Kishore Tiwari of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti. Mr. Tiwari said that the television company got in touch with him to identify some women who could appear on the show to highlight the issue of suicides in Vidarbha.

This was the first time Aparna visited Mumbai and she flew from Nagpur along with Manjusha Ambarwar who was invited to be in the audience. “I come from a very small village and the city was all new to me,” Aparna said. She had to summon all her courage to speak about her life in the village and she did not allow all the glitz of show biz to unsettle her. “I spoke on the suicides, on the need for sustainable farming and the need to help widows in distress. There are others like me who are not so fortunate, they should be helped too so that we can all have a good future,” she said.

Twenty-year-old Manjusha Ambarwar is a journalism student in Nagpur and at least two of her dreams came true after her visit to Mumbai.” I still cannot believe that I was part of the show hosted by Amitabh Bachchan,” she said. “I was not in the hot seat but was asked a question on farmers and so I spoke about the poor quality of seeds, the terrible impact on farming and the high cost of production,” she said. Already a graduate, when she completes her media course she plans to highlight agrarian distress in her work. “I want to tell farmers not to commit suicide,” she said.

Manjusha was very keen on being selected to answer questions but that was not to be. “Since I was small, I always dreamt of coming to Mumbai and staying here and I wanted to meet Salman Khan too. But I met Amitabh Bachchan,” she giggled. She comes from a small village Telang Takali, which is close to Aparna’s. “I expect that such TV shows should reach a lot of people and even Mr. Bachchan wants to help us. We should have access to good seeds not the spurious Bt cotton that is available now,” she added. Manjusha’s father Ramdas committed suicide in 1999.

Mr. Tiwari said that his organisation was helping the widows but there were 12 to 13,000 women who have been demanding a pension to support their families. The issue is highlighted sporadically when something like this happens. There is no sustained approach, he lamented.

Writing about his guest on his blog, Mr. Bachchan was struck by the fact that Aparna still wore a mangalsutra. He said, “Aparna now is left all alone. She was not even aware that her husband had taken a loan. She has gathered herself together somehow, and works on the fields in farming and making ends meet. She still keeps her ‘mangalsutra’ on her neck — the necklace worn by Indian women signifying her married status, because she fears harassment from other men, who trouble her with threats and envious motives. But she is resolved. She does not want to give up. She will fight her way through she says, bring up her children, earn her living through the hard work on the fields, build a concrete house, for the present one is weak and old and made of mud and broken tiles and give half of what she earns to the other widows in India, who she says are suffering with similar conditions … just incredible !!”


‘KBC’ Special on vidarbha farm widows- BigB expresses Anguish over Agrarian Crisis

‘KBC’ Special on vidarbha farm widows- BigB expresses Anguish over Agrarian Crisis

Nagpur-12th September 2011

It was dream for distressed and debt ridden vidarbha farmer widows and kin to sit on hot seat in the most TRP rated and viewed show ‘KBC’ hosted by megastar of Indian bollywood Amitabh Bachchancame true on last Saturday when special show was arranged to by KBC team to show plights of Indian farmers widows and kids and to give healing touch to these families facing starvation and poverty .Having seen plights of vidarbha farm widows Amitabh Bachchan was so disturbed that forced him write the it own his blog where he expressed his aguish and pain over gloom and despair of diseased families whose brae earner have committed suicide in agrarian crisis .

In India as per official record of ministry home affairs in last decade more than 2 lakh 24 thousand farmers committed suicide mostly due debt and cash crop failure in the dry rain fed area of India in which cotton growing belt Maharashtra known as west-vidarbha also popular as farm suicide capital of India as one farmer is committing at the rate of every eight hours since 2005 taking toll to more than 12000 and Indian Govt. has announced relief packages amounting Rs.10,000 crore but failed to address crisis to stop spiral of farm suicides that prompted KBC team to invited farm widows and deceased farmers daughter to participate in special show of KBC being aired in last week of September .

In special show of KBC farmers widows of village Arpana Malikar (09405493146)age-27 ,mother of two daughters age 7 and 3 whose husband Sanjay progressive cotton farmer of village Vara-Kawatha committed suicide due massive debt and crop failure and Manjusha Ambarwar (09552726952) age-18 whose father Ramdas Ambarwar who was first victim of vidarbha agrarian crisis and killed himself in 1999 from village Talang-Talki both from worst hit Yavatmal district which has recorded maximum suicides since 2005 were especially invited to take part in KBC show .

‘It was amazing to go to Mumbai by plane then to stay in five star hostel lastly to meet Amitabh Bachchan and take part in KBC ,till we are thinking it as dream ,this show will change my life and will save my daughters an daughter hundreds of farm widows of vidarbha region who are facing starvation and being exploited due to poverty .we are indebted to KBC and Amitabh Bachchan specially who was kind to us to listen our painful stories of ill-fated life and extended full hearted support to all my sisters whoare victim vidarbha agrarian crisis and lost bread earner ,we are very delighted with healing touch given by KBC and Amitabh Bachchan particular’ Arpana Malikar was talking to us after returning from Mumbai on Sunday afternoon in Nagpur.

‘Arpana Malikar was very nervous so as case with me when we saw mega show setup and when she went to hot seat ,she was very much scared to speak with Abhitabh Bachan and broke down when she was asked to recall the past and present struggle of life as she is brave woman farmer of village ,fighting with all odds, made all audience emotional even host was touched a lot ,she gave most of answers and won big price money too but it was most touch movement when Amitabh Bachchan gave us special Rs.50,000/- help and announced to help all other dying vidarbha farm widows too’ Manjusha Ambarwar informed who joined the show as special guest.

KBC host Amitabh Bachchan wrote on his Blog on vidarbha farmer suicide after shooting and I



Jalsa , Mumbai Sept 10/11 , 2011 Sat/ Sun 2 : 10 AM

Yes it is late … but having just finished my work at KBC and devoured a meal, have realized that time has indeed flown by and it is time that I should have been in bed. But … that is a hope. Nothing goes to sleep until the EF have been connected with and with whom is shared the thought for the day.

I am afraid there is not much that can be said after my time spent among the ‘bleeding hearts’ on this wonderful programme. Today was the episode played out to help and assist in any manner possible, those of our country that have had to face personal tragedy and are now in desperate state.

Tonight was the lady who’s husband a farmer in the Vidarbha region, committed suicide because he was unable to repay his loan. Suicides in this region have reached alarming proportions. There are so many of them that are resorting to this form of ending their lives because they are unable to repay their loans and are unable to find a remunerative medium in their business of farming to earn and pay off these amounts. They leave behind a family. They have taken the easy and cowardly way out. But they are gone and they have left behind a whole lot of people that now face the consequences of their absence.

Aparna, the lady who came by for the KBC contest as a special guest has two small daughters aged 7 and 3 and no support from any quarter. Her husband committed suicide to save the embarrassment of not being able to pay back his loan. Aparna now is left all alone. She was not even aware that her husband had taken a loan. She has gathered herself together somehow, and works on the fields in farming and making ends meet. She still keeps her ‘mangalsutra’ on her neck - the necklace worn by Indian women signifying her married status, because she fears harassment from other men, who trouble her with threats and envious motives. But she is resolved. She does not want to give up. She will fight her way through she says, bring up her children, earn her living through the hard work on the fields, build a concrete house, for the present one is weak and old and made of mud and broken tiles and give half of what she earns to the other widows in India, who she says are suffering with similar conditions … just incredible!!

She won Rs 6, 40,000 ! She will clear her loan of Rs 50,000 and shall perhaps repair her home and keep some money aside for the education of her two girls.

I did not have words to be able to express my anguish and grief at this state. But there it was Stark, brutal and honest.

More of this later . I fear I shall drop if I continued further so till then .

Amitabh Bachchan



Swapna Iyar Co-Producer of this special show toured agrarian crisis hit vidarbha and done excellent ground work for the programme to bring issue before society via -KBC. Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti farm activist group in the region provided basic input for the KBC show on vidarbha agrarian crisis.

‘Abhitabh Bachan has joined team of celebrities who are helping these thousand of dying vidarbha farmer widows v.i.z. Deepa Bhatia(09820303113), Sharmila Tagore, Amol Gupte ,Megasay Awardees P.sainath (09869212127), Adv.Amita Joseph (09811299989) of Business Community Foundation ,Ex-DGP Maharashtra Anami Roy(09870170000), Dr.Gopal Kondawar(09823402780) of Smile Foundation and Nitin Gadkari(09821080522) BJP chief, Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti added.

Friday, September 9, 2011

कापूस भाववाढीसाठी गाव तेथे उपोषण-विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीचे आंदोलन

कापूस भाववाढीसाठी गाव तेथे उपोषण-विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीचे आंदोलन
स्रोत: तरुण भारत तारीख: 9/5/2011 10:02:38 PM
शहर प्रतिनिधी

यवतमाळ, ५ सप्टेंबर

कापसाचा हमीभाव ६ हजार रुपये क्किंटल करावा या पणन महासंघाच्या मागणीला विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीने पाठिंबा दिला आहे. सोबतच कापसाच्या भाववाढीसाठी सोमवार, १२ सप्टेंबरपासून ‘गाव तेथे उपोषण सत्याग्रह’ आंदोलन करण्याचा इशाराही दिला आहे. महाराष्ट्र राज्य कापूस पणन महासंघाने केंद्र सरकारला कापसाचा हमीभाव ६ हजार रुपये प्रति क्किंटल करावा व कापसाची निर्यात कायम खुली करावी, असा ठराव भारत सरकारकडे पाठवून कापूस उत्पादक शेतकर्‍यांना वाचविण्यासाठी अशाप्रकारचा निर्णय त्वरित घेणे आवश्यक असल्याचे म्हटले आहे. कापूस उत्पादक शेतकर्‍यांच्या हक्कासाठी लढणार्‍या विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीने पणन महासंघाच्या या दोन्ही मागण्यांचे समर्थन केले असून, कापसाचा हमीभाव ६ हजार रुपये प्रती क्किंटल व्हावा या मागणीसाठी ‘गाव तेथे उपोषण सत्याग्रह’ सुरू करण्याची घोषणा विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीचे नेते किशोर तिवारी यांनी केली आहे. विदर्भाच्या कापूस उत्पादक शेतकर्‍यांच्या वतीने पणन महासंघाचे अध्यक्ष डॉ. एन. पी. हिराणी यांनी पुढाकार घेऊन कापूस उत्पादक शेतकर्‍यांच्या हिताकरिता हमीभाव व निर्यात धोरणाच्या चुकीच्या निर्णयाने येत असलेल्या प्रचंड आर्थिक संकटाची कल्पना दिली असून, हमीभाव वाढविण्याची सखोल कारणे व निर्यात धोरणामुळे शेतकर्‍यांचे होत असलेले नुकसान सरकारसमोर मांडले आहे. याकरिता विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीने पणन महासंघाचे आभार मानले आहेत. मात्र, केंद्र सरकार हमीभाव व निर्यात धोरणाबद्दल उदासीन असून, यापूर्वी महाराष्ट्र कॉंग्रेस अध्यक्ष माणिकराव ठाकरे व समाज कल्याणमंत्र्यांनी स्वतंत्रपणे कॉंग्रेस अध्यक्ष सोनिया गांधी व पंतप्रधान मनमोहनसिंग यांच्याकडे कापसाचा हमीभाव ५ हजार रुपये प्रतिक्किंटल करावा, अशी मागणी केली होती. परंतु, केंद्र सरकारने दोन महिने लोटूनही या मागणीची दखल घेतली नाही. पणन महासंघाने आपल्या ठरावात सरकारच्या निर्यातबंदीमुळे मागील वर्षी शेतकर्‍यांचे ३० हजार कोटी रुपयांचे नुकसान झाल्याची कबुली दिली आहे. यावर्षी कापसावरील लागवडीचा खर्च एकरी २५ ते ३० हजार रुपये येत असताना कापसाचा हमीभाव ३ हजार ३०० रुपये ठेवणे म्हणजे कृषिमूल्य आयोगाने शेतकर्‍यांना आत्महत्येसाठी आमंत्रणच देणे होय, असेही किशोर तिवारी यांनी म्हटले आहे. मागील तीन वर्षांत शेतमजुरांची मजुरी, रासायनिक खते, कीटकनाशक आणि बीटी बियाण्यांच्या किंमती तिपटीने वाढल्या आहेत. या उलट कापसाचे उत्पादन व कापसाचा भाव स्थिर आहे. त्यामुळे शेतकरी हतबल झाले असून सरकारने कापूस उत्पादक शेतकर्‍यांना त्यांच्या घामाचे दाम द्यावे, अशी मागणी समितीने केली आहे.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

7 farmers commit suicide in Vidarbha in last 3 days-Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times

Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times
Nagpur, September 08, 2011

The festive spirit and joy in the ongoing celebration of Ganesh festival seems to have dampened a bit.

Prayers for peace and prosperity to the presiding deity of Maharashtra notwithstanding, the vagaries of nature are aggravating the distress of Vidarbha’s farmers.

Seven more farmers committed suicide in Vidarbha in the last 72 hours.

According to reports reaching Nagpur on Thursday, among the victims, three were from Akola, two from Yavatmal and one each from Washim and Wardha districts. The deceased farmers were identified as: Samrat Pagare (64) of Palsod, Ramkrishna Navalkar (60), Alanda, Madhukar Shinde (58), Khandala (all from Akola district), Shivaji Kale (32), Shirdi (Washim), Shankar Bodhhole (33), Bandu Pinge (35), Adegaon, and Dhabaji Kale (55), Ganeshpur (both Yavatmal district).

The farmers were depressed because of damaging of crops following the incessant rains in the region over the past few days. Crop damage meant no income, which in turn, meant no money to repay loans borrowed from private moneylenders and banks.

"Apprehensive with the prospect of non-payment of loans and not getting fresh loans left these farmers thoroughly depressed. Apart from this, the resultant inability to sustain the family and failing to cope up with the needs of the family added to their fears," said Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti that has been documenting farmers’ suicide in the region.

With the deaths of these farmers, the toll has reached 16 this month while the figure was 48 last month.

Shravan Hardikar, the district collector of Yavatmal, admitted that two farmers committed suicide because of agrarian crisis. "We are concerned about such deaths. The banking institutions have disbursed around Rs 700 crore crop loans to needy farmers in this kharif season. Agrarian crisis apart there are socio-economic and personal reasons driving farmers to take such a drastic step," he said.

Tiwari said that the government should take the issue very seriously and provide food security to distressed farmers.

"It is a case of genocide. The state is allowing the distressed farmers to end their lives. We have time and again demanded that the marginal farmers and farm widows should be given facilities accorded to BPL families so that at least they can get the food security. This can only prevent further suicide in the region," he said.

Untimely rainfall, crops failure, expensive healthcare, and rise in agro-input costs to the lure latest consumer durables etc have led to the financial misery of the people.

The situation is so severe that an average two farmers commit suicide in the region every day.

Farmer suicides in VIdarbha region -- yearwise

2001: 52
2002: 104
2003: 148
2004: 447
2005: 445
2006: 1,448
2007: 1,246
2008: 1,268
2009: 916
2010: 748
2011 (Till September 8): 438

Impact of rain

Heavy rains over the last couple of days threw normal life completely out of gear in several districts of eastern Vidarbha.

The incessant rains have damaged crops, overflowing of nullahs and rivulets, cut off some parts of the region and caused loss of life. The rains claimed the life of a farmer in neighbouring Bhandara district.

The farmer, Bhagwan Dhande (40) of Seloti village, who was returning from his field, was swept away when he tried to cross a nullah on Wednesday evening.

Reports reaching here on Thursday said that over 60 per cent area of backward Gadchiroli district were cut off from rest of the country. The Shankarpur river is in spate.

The busy Wadsa-Kurkheda road has submerged under flood waters of the river cutting off northern Gadchiroli from rest of the country. Many low lying areas are water logged following heavy rains in Bhandara, Gondia, and Chandrapur districts.

Situation is worse in Arjuni Morgaon where 137 villagers from Pushpnagar were shifted to safer place. People were also moved to Zilla Parishad’s primary school at Keshori.

Villagers of Pushpnagar, Khodda and Wadegaon Bandya in Arjun Morgaon tehsil in Gondia district are surrounded by water from Gadvi river and an overflowing Itiadoh dam.

The water weir at Itiadoh dam is overflowing by 5 feet.

As per the preliminary reports, a number of houses and cattle sheds were damaged in different districts in the region due to incessant rains.