Madhur Bhandarkar comes to rescue of Vidarbh farmer’’s widows

September 6th, 2008 - 10:52 pm ICT by ANI  

Nagpur, Sept 6 (ANI): National award winning Bollywood filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar on Saturday donated his prize money to the families of three debt-ridden farmers who committed suicide in Vidarbh region of Maharashtra on Saturday.
Ironically, the three hapless agricultural families were not found eligible for government help.
The three families, orphaned after their debt-trapped men Kashinath Waghmare of Buldana district, Shyamrao Kannake and his son Vinod, besides Prakash Darne of Yavatmal district committed suicide, will get Rs.100, 000 each from Bhandarkar.
Bhandarkar donated his prize money of Rs.250, 000 that he picked up on winning ”Swarna Kamal award” for his film ”Traffic Signal” at the 54th Annual National Film Awards held in New Delhi recently.
The film maker, who was distressed to read stories of thousands of farmers in Vidarbha who have killed themselves in the last three years, identified `the most deserving” three families with the help of friends in the media and the local administration.
I was reading in newspapers for the last one year that the farmers of Vidarbh region are committing suicide so I thought of doing something for them. When I got the National award I felt that I should donate the amount for the people who are suffering but I think it is a very small contribution from my side, said Bhandarkar. More than 30,000 farmers have killed themselves in the region alone since 1997, making it the epicenter of India’’s grimmest agrarian crisis in recent memory.
The National Sample Survey Organisation says almost half of India’’s 100 million farming families are in debt.
India’’s stunning urban-centric economic growth has bypassed the farm sector where growth is estimated to have slowed to 2.6 per cent in the year ending March 2008, from 3.8 per cent the year before.
Even though farming supports 60 per cent of India’’s 1.1 billion people, it contributes only a fifth of gross domestic product and accounts for only around 15 per cent of bank credit.
Economic liberalisation since 1991 has not helped either, with duties being gradually phased out and farmers facing tough competition from heavily subsidized European or American growers.
In the past, farmers used to sell to the government at a price fixed in advance, but that safety net was removed for cotton growers in 2005, leaving them at the mercy of middlemen who often browbeat them into unprofitable sales. (ANI)

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