Friday, June 15, 2007

Farmers’ widows pour out grief to Prez
Aneesh Phadnis I TNN
Yavatmal: She had perhaps not met a single minister in her life। However, on Saturday, Saraswati Ambarwar, widow of a Yavatmal cotton farmer, came face-to-face with President APJ Abdul Kalam, had a photo clicked with him and handed over a memorandum seeking loan waiver and jobs. The President, who attended the concluding cerermony of the Amolakchand College golden jubilee in Yavatmal, promised to look into the grievance of the widows. In fact, a meeting with the women was not part of the original schedule till Thursday, but the President consented to meet them for a few minutes at the airport. The women, whose husbands committed suicide owing to indebtedness, were accompanied by Kishor Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti. “The President said he was very disturbed because of the situation in Vidarbha. He said he will study the memorandum and will ask the state and Centre to act on the demands. He said the widows should be rehabilitated and said he would call for a meeting of concerned officials,” Tiwari told reporters after the meeting. “He wondered why the farmers were not included in the list of people below poverty line,” Tiwari added. “Even now we have no money and can’t till the farm. One of my daughters died of kidney failure. I don’t have money to educate my second daughter,” said Saraswati Ambarwar of Telangtakdi village. She and the two other women Nanda Bhendare and Kamlabai Gosavi Pawar claimed that they did not receive compensation from the government. A government official countered the claim and said all the three women were given Rs 1 lakh in compensation. “The President gave them a patient hearing and said he was concerned about the problem. While he spoke in English he had a Marathi interpreter from Delhi. He said training should be imparted to improve skills of the women,” the official added. “The President heard them patiently but I don’t the think he gave them any assurance regarding a meeting on the farmers issue,” he added.

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