Thursday, August 03, 2006

4 more funds-starved farmers die-Rs 150 Cr Relief Amount Is Lying Unused; Toll Touches 706

4 more funds-starved farmers die

Activist Claims Rs 150 Cr Relief Amount Is Lying Unused; Toll Touches 706


Nagpur: With four more farmers committing suicide in Vidarbha, the toll has gone up to 706 in the past 14 months. Dyaneshwar Damdu Dalan of Gandhinagar village in Yavatmal district, Gautam Narayan Surve and Sambhaji Mule of Washim district and Shakradhar Rajaram Zade of Dasarnagar in Buldana district ended their lives on Wednesday, claimed Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti president Kishor Tiwari.
Tiwari told TOI on Thursday that a sum of Rs 150 crore had been allocated in this year’s budget by the state government for emergency relief to cotton farmers in the six badly-hit districts. But the amount was lying unused, he claimed. “The money could have saved many lives had it been disbursed in time. But obviously due to local politics the money is lying unused in the district collectorates,’’ he alleged.
He further said: “The budgetary provisions had been made and applications for aid were invited from distressed farmers. The districts under the guidance of their respective guardian ministers were to identify the most deserving cases for assistance. As many as three lakh farmers applied for assistance, each spending about Rs 100 to fulfill the application formalities. But none of them received any relief because the district could not finalise the list of most-distressed farmers,’’ Tiwari added.
The samiti has filed a petition in the Bombay high court, citing the flawed policies of the government and bureacratic apathy responsible for the farmers’ suicides. The matter is pending in court and notices have been issued to the government to come up with a response to the allegations made in the petition. The next hearing is before the Nagpur bench of the high court on August 7.
In the last hearing, the court had directed the government to post on its website the list of farmers meant to benefit from the relief programmes. Tiwari said he would post on his own webiste lists of widows who had been denied relief and also the names and details of the farmers who were not given fresh bank credit despite the government’s orders.
Over a 100 farmers have ended their lives after the PM visited the region and announced a Rs 3750-crore relief package.

KILLING FIELDS: Elders mourn a farmer’s death in this file picture

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