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News18 » Videos » News18 Shorts

Ineffective farm waiver? 3 farmers commit suicide

Mar 11, 2008 03:26 PM IST India India
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New Delhi: In spite of Congress publicising it all over, the Finance Minister's 60,000-crore farm loan waiver isn't good enough to save farmers in the suicide belt of Vidarbha In the last 24 hours, three farmers in Akola have committed suicide. All three marginal farmer—-Ramesh Ambhore, Shrikrishna Gangaram and Gowardhan Manik Solanke—were sunk in heavy debt. According to experts the loan waiver is of little help as less than half of the marginal and small farmers, owning up to 2 hectares are expected to benefit. Reports say more than 22 farmers who have taken their lives in Maharashtra's Vidarbha region had over 5 acres of land. In Vidarbha, of the 63 families, only 13 qualify for the government's loan waiver. The rest have more than five acres of land and debt ranging from Rs 15,000 to 20,000. None of them have the money to take up the Finance Minister's offer of a one-time settlement of loans. They feel selling their village is the only option. “If somebody is ready to pay us a decent price, we are ready to sell our village today,” says Sarpanch, Dorli, Dharampal Hariom Jagrunde. Also ready to sell his three-and-a-half acres of land, is Arun Chambare. Two years ago he took a loan, of RS 15,000 to grow cotton. However, the crop failed and he defaulted on his loan. The following year when the bank refused to loan him more money he was forced to borrow Rs 20,000 from a moneylender. But a drought meant he is now defaulted on that loan as well. While his bank loan has been waived, the moneylender has been threatening him. "The moneylender told me the superintendent of police is his friend who will arrest me and beat me up,” says Arun. Tired of this pathetic state of events, there is now a big ‘for sale’ sign right in the middle of the village. Houses, animals, farms, the whole of Dorli village is for sale. In fact things here are so bad, the villagers say they have decided to give up farming and if they get a good price, sell the village and perhaps start life afresh. The plight of Dorli village highlights how inadequate the government's loan waiver scheme has been for Vidharba, says experts. Experts say for Vidharba's farmers to truly benefit, those with up to 25 acres of land, must have their loans waived. As the region's farmers live on in hope, one village has given up and put itself on the block. Meanwhile, Union Agruculture Minister, Sharad Pawar has said the dues of farmers will be cleared by June. "The farmers who took money from money-lenders doing illegal business don't have to repay a single penny," he said.

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