Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had in August this year announced relief package of Rs.1980 crore for distressed farmers of Vidarbha. The announcement was followed by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar declaring additional Central relief package of Rs.940 crore in October. As of now both the announcements have turned out to be mere assurance and nothing has been initiated on this front, Not a single penny has been given to any of the 3 million distressed farmers of Vidarbha, alleged Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS) in a press release issue here on Monday.
Tiwari in his release has demanded the state government to refrain from any new announcement in this winter session and act immediately to fulfill its earlier promise.
He said that Vidarbha has reported more than 324 farmers suicides since the Chief Minister announced first relief package taking the total toll to 734 in this year.
”We are shocked to see step motherly treatment to Vidarbha farmers while the state government appears keen to provide relief to western Maharashtra sugarcane farmers who are asking for better price. We support their demand too but at the same time Vidarbha farmers are off loading cotton and soybean in less MSP and the same government is showing apathy to generate more power for Vidarbha. Load shedding has ruined standing cotton crop in west Vidarbha. Hence we want the government to respond to the serious agrarian crisis of Vidarbha and provide urgent relief during the current assembly session in Nagpur,” Tiwari said.
He informed that more than million acres of land has been eroded in Vidarbha reporting the total crop loss of Rs.20,000 crore. The total relief announced by Centre and state for Vidarbha is just Rs.2800 crore which is too less to repair damaged roads and bridges. Final loss assessment report of state government has not been submitted and farmers are crying for help, he added.
As all announcements are turning out to be hoax for example in August Maharashtra Chief Minister announced Rs.2000 crore relief aid but till date nothing has been released. Moreover local administration is shamelessly providing cheques of Rs.80 to Rs.100 to farmers, which is like rubbing salt on the wounds of dying farmers who lost their entire crops, home and cattle. There are more than 3 million flood effected farmers and it is obvious that this aid is peanut hence Vidarbha farmers are demanding higher support price for cotton and soybean at Rs.6000 and Rs 5000 per quintal, respectively.
Tiwari said that earlier too when Indian Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh visited Vidarbha on July 1 2006 for announcing Vidarbha relief package of Rs.3750, he told the farm widows that his visit will give healing touch to distressed farmers but all promises given by him went in vain and complete relief package followed by farm loan waiver failed to address the farm suicide issue.
He said that Indian Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar is on three day “Farm suicide tourism” with same slogan that his tour is not political one and he is visiting flood hit region to give healing touch to dying farmers but farmers are requesting him not to rub the salt to their wounds by giving false promises and creating rosy picture.