12 farm suicides in four days in Vidarbha despite loan waiver

August 16th, 2008 - 8:38 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Nagpur, Aug 16 (IANS) An unprecedented Rs.710 billion loan waiver has not stopped farm suicides in Vidarbha of Maharashtra with 12 such cases being reported in different parts of the region in the four days till the Independence Day. Four suicides have occurred in Buldana, three in Amravati besides two in Yavatmal and one in Akola district of western Vidarbha whereas one each has been reported from Chandrapur and Wardha districts of southern Vidarbha, Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti president Kishor Tiwari has said.

Referring to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Independence Day speech highlighting the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s priority to the agrarian sector and his appeal to the state governments to strengthen the public distribution system, Tiwari says in a letter to Manmohan Singh that though the reference was as impressive as the loan waiver, the measures have not as yet succeeded fully.

“The loan waiver largely remains on the paper because of the fund crunch being faced by the district central cooperative banks,” Tiwari told IANS adding that over a month-long dry spell in Vidarbha from the second half of June has forced many of them to do re-sowing and allied farm operations twice or thrice.

The relief announced by the state government to cover the farmers’ extra costs due to re-sowing is woefully inadequate and that too is yet to be distributed, he pointed out.

“The farmers were also badly stressed because of the inadequate or spurious supply of fertilizers, particularly di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), and such factors combined with the state government’s illogical eligibility criteria for the loan waiver and fresh credit and procedural delays drove farmers to private moneylenders again, making nonsense of the ‘whopping’ loan waiver and a fresh credit plan of the government that has dazzled the world,” Tiwari said.

The latest 12 suicides have taken this year’s toll in Vidarbha to 534, Tiwari said, quoting from the figures available on the state government website.

Yavatmal district collector Sanjay Deshmukh, however, contested the claims of the VJAS leader and pointed out that over Rs.1.30 billion worth fresh loans have so far been extended to farmers in the district, a big chunk of which came from the district cooperative bank (DCC).

“Even the nationalized banks have given loans to farmers who presented no-objection certificates from the DCC branches that were unable to advance loan,” Deshmukh told IANS.

Supporting Deshmukh, the Maharashtra government’s Principal Secretary (Cooperatives) Sudhir Goyal told IANS that NABARD had provided enough funds to the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank to help the cash-strapped DCCs.

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