Once upon a time…
Posted by संदीप नारायण शेळके on October 9, 2010
While getting regular updates on “Farmer’s Suicides” I realized at least 2 suicides reported in media (many go unnoticed or covered up by Govt agencies, as suicide rate accepted by NCRB is 1 suicide every 30 minutes, which do not include farm labours and women farmers). The time may not far, if suicides continue at this pace, when we will be telling next generation that “Once upon a time Bharat was a Farmers (an extinct species now) nation”
Govt, Human Rights activists, secularists feel agitated (PM loses his sleep, 1, 2) when there is unrest in a particular community due to self-created mess. But the same HR, Govt, (lame-duck) PM, pseudo-secularists are so ignorant and unmoved even after 200000+ suicides by farmers across the nation. (Interestingly the leading states on the suicide chart are either Congress led or in past had their govt for long time, ironically no one is pointing a finger towards them neither questioning their ability). Society either is no different, except some futile efforts here and there by few person,
Following are few examples to see the gravity and voracity of the problems.
… A debt-ridden cotton farmer allegedly committed suicide in Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh, police said today. … in Veernapalli village … Kamatam Chandraiah (41) consumed an insecticide when heavy rains destroyed two acres of cotton crops, they said. Unable to repay the debts, the farmer took the extreme step and died on his way to the hospital, police said. Financiers had been demanding dues of Rs 1.5 lakh from Chandraiah for some time now, police added. Read more
There is just another to this.
The farmer Kalia Beriha, 22, resident of Tenganpali village, some 460 km from here, committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree Wednesday near his crop field, …. He had taken a loan of Rs.45,000 from a local bank in the name of his father. He was under pressure after he didn’t repay it …. Read more
There one more very frustrating episode.
Jitu Bagdi is one of the three farmers — Yunus Sheikh and Gosai Das Patra being the two others — who have killed themselves in Ausgram in Burdwan district, which is also known as “Bengal’s granary”.
Jitu’s widow, Rupa, whom I met recently, described her husband as quiet and honest. Munmun, his slip of a daughter, told me how, on returning from school, she had found her father writhing on the mud floor, frothing from the mouth. Barely conscious, he had asked Munmun not to raise the alarm, and instructed her that she and her brother should eat what their mother could give after he died. [This last statement shook to the core. I'm collapsed after seeing the tragedy. for CWG govt spent Rs 70000 crores which could have solved the farmer's problems once and for all]
If farmers of “Bengal’s Granary” are witnessing this fate then least can be said about rest of the nation.
Farmers in Burdwan, one of the 11 districts that have been declared drought-affected by the state government, have been inconvenienced further by the near-absence of irrigation facilities. One other reason, crucial to the three deaths in my view, was, however, underreported: the role that moneylenders and other dubious credit institutions play in farmer suicides. Rupa, who is ineligible for compensation under the widow pension scheme because she is under 40, had mentioned that after his crops failed, Jitu, a sharecropper, had been worried about repaying the sum — “Rs 32,000 at a monthly interest of 10 per cent” — that he had borrowed in the last two years. Creditors came calling often, and Jitu had been troubled by the thought of his family’s honor being sullied. Read more
If we look at the gravity of issues and respective reports then we can easily make out reasons:
Drought (Burdwan district)
Excessive rain (Karimnagar district)
Unable to repay loans due to regular crop failure (these are the visible symptoms of disease)
Highest lending rates (8% per year for new home and 10% per month for farmers)
Harassment for repayment (dubious institutions and pvt money lenders)
Lack of awareness about available facilities and schemes due to red tapeism in bureaucracy.
Micro finance institutes are also creating death trap instead of easing the burden. Their lending rates are from 24-36% per year. (I’ve firsthand experience of such MFIs and SHGs from my native village. These institutes, mostly run by politicians, get loan from govt at the rate from 4-8% per annum. A classic example of exploitation at the hands of politicians in name of development?)
What to make out of such suicides deaths (daylight murders?). Ruling class and elites are not at all interested.
I propose to start a MFI which shall give loans to the farmers who will allow us to work with them on their farms.
Farmers can avail consultation from us for cultivation with no extra cost.
Modern agricultural techniques shall be provided.
Only stringent norm shall be, to sell their crop through us at the market price or even at higher price (This will be given in a written guarantee. The quality check process shall be used to gauze quality of produce)
The lending rate shall be no more than 1% per month reducing.
All of the loans must be insured under various Govt, private insurance schemes.
Eligibility shall be decided on crop and cultivation area basis.
Need an expert advice for above solution, please come forward to start analysis, planning for smooth and effective implementation of above solution.
कृषितोनास्ति दुर्भिक्षं- Dearth of Agriculture is Famine
Open for suggestions/comments.
If you feel interested then please be updated, stand up and take the pledge that you’ll join the forces by whatever way its possible for you.
P.S. Just liking/sharing the post or shading tears will not help (you must if you feel but) , please, help aggressively because these are the people who produces daily meal for us. We must care for them.