Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Vidarbha water powers Nitin Gadkari-DNA



Vidarbha water powers Nitin Gadkari



1,260 MW (2,300 MW+1,660 MW ) coal-based power plant
Location: village:-Bijora Tehsil- Mahagaon, District-Yavatmal (Maharashtra)
Costing Rs.5,040 cr.
1320 MW (2,660 MW super critical coal based power project
Location :Village :-khutafali, Tehsil-Ner, District-Yavatmal (Maharashtra)
Costing Rs.5,280 cr.

DNA / Yogesh Pawar / Thursday, May 31, 2012 6:00 IST
  http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_vidarbha-water-powers-nitin-gadkari_1695974-all
In farmer suicide country, Vidarbha, a new controversy is brewing. Water from irrigation projects meant for farmers has been diverted to a massive number of power projects coming up in the region. While the BJP has often been at the forefront of its attacks on the state government for this decision, BJP president Nitin Gadkari along with his party colleagues are stakeholders in a number of power projects, two of which are in Yavatmal district. With the highest number of farmer suicides in the country’s it is like the epicentre of the crisis which claims three farmers’ lives every single day.
In one sweep, over the past year, the state government cleared a whopping 85 power projects across this region. For this they sanctioned 2,200 mm3 (million cubic metres) of water from irrigation projects, which could have watered an estimated 5 lakh hectares of farmland.
The BJP says it is against diverting water to power plants in Vidarbha, but are its own leaders are direct or proxy stakeholders in the booming power business?
The route through their business dealings are several - one of them being Chintamani Agrotech. Started with the “guidance” of Nitin Gadkari, it has as its members, Utam Ingle, former BJP MLA from Umerkhed, Madan Yerawar, former BJP MLA from Yavatmal and Devendra Fadnavis, MLA from Nagpur.
Ingle, confirmed to us the relations between Gadkari and Chintamani. When DNA asked him if Gadkari was still associated with it, he said, "Chintamani Agrotech may be Nitin Gadkari's company but I bought the land in the company's name. I'm a director in it with 10 others."
Meanwhile Nitin Gadkari’s office has sent DNA this statement in clarification: "Nitin Gadkari was once appointed independent Director of the company, but due to his commitments he could not attend even in single meeting of the company and subsequently resigned from M/s Chintamani Agrotech in 2011."
In 2001, Ingle on behalf of Chintamani Agrotech bought 127 acres of land from the remote tribal village of Bijora in Yavatmal.
Locals say since Ingle is also a tribal, they believed his claim of setting up a sugar factory which would provide jobs for them. An angry villager told us, "We demand that either you give jobs to our kids or give us the correct compensation for the land otherwise give our land back."
But there has been no factory for ten years, and no jobs. Instead Chintamani has announced they are setting up a 30 MW power plant on the site. Ingle still insists, "The 30 MW power plant will run on biogas, from sugarcane residue." He claims it is a biofuel plant which doesn’t use coal, and so it doesn’t contradict their stand against coal-based power plants in Vidarbha. Curiosuly in their official release, Chintamani has described it as primarily a coal-based plant, and confirmed coal linkages.
Angry with what they see as multliple deceptions, the local Gonds went on a rampage, breaking Chintamani's field office three months ago, demanding their land be returned. Vijay Gond from the affected village says, "Chintamani company has not done any work and we have no faith left in them anymore. Since they haven’t done anything for over decade, it is obvious they do not want to do anything. An entire generation lost out due to them. What benefit did we get? Now we do not want any more empty assurances, we want our land back."
Undettered Gadkari's associates have come back to the same spot with even bigger ambitions, under a different proxy. This proxy is Jinbhuvish Power, headed by the Nagpur based businessman Manish Mehta, who also was a director in Chintamani Agrotech. On Mehta's website we found photos of him with Gadkari which demonstrate his closeness with the latter.
Jinbhuvish has bought 750 acres of land, to set up a huge 1260 MW coal – based plant bang next to the Chintamani land.
This has raised fresh fears. Jinbhuvish is cleared to get 20 mm3 of water which most likely will come from the nearby Penganga river. Ingle however insists, there is no link between the two, and that Manish has left Chintamani Agrotech. "Manish Mehta used to be a Director in Chintamani Agrotech but he left. Now he is in Jinbhuvish," he offered.
Yet the Chintamani power plant is listed in Jinbhuvish's website, as a Jinbhuvish project! They even share the same offices in a building in Nagpur. When DNA called the office, the staff were apprehensive about answering questions or telling us Manish Mehta’s location. On phone Manish Mehta too insists Chintamani and Jinbhuvish are different companies. “I am only helping them with their project in Yavatmal,” he said, first agreeing to meet us and backing out later. Interestingly a BJP MLA who is one of the directors of Chintamani went a step further and said Mehta runs both the companies.
As further evidence of the links, Ingle confirmed that he helped Jinbhuvish acquire 625 acres of land for yet another coal– based power plant in Ningnur, also in Yavatmal. He told us, "I helped Jinbhuvish to acquire land on which they are making a 1,200 MW power plant for which they have got clearance as well."
Vidarbha Jan Andolan's Kishore Tiwari says there is no doubt about these links. He says "Jinbhvish is a recent partner which owns these two sites - Bijaura and Kolura power plants, floated initially by Chintamani Agro. Chintamani is a sister concern of Purti Agro which is the company of Nitin Gadkari."
On the outskirts of Nagpur, is an even more direct link between Gadkari and coal based -power business. Work is progressing on a new 270 MW power plant set up by Ideal Energy, in which Nitin Gadkari's son, Nikhil, is an independent director. Ideal Energy is right next to Purti Industries, owned by Nitin Gadkari. It is also right next to Wadgaon dam, so its water supply is assured. Nikhil initially was unavailable for comments but later said he had resigned from Ideal Energy on 8th April 2011.
Farm rights activist Vijay Jawandiya deplores this development. "Gadkari is a national leader of BJP. He has his own power plants and is entering the power industry with his friends. This is really a tragedy. Instead of solving problems of Vidarbha farmers, this will compound them as water availability will be reduced," he said and added, “While the Congress- NCP government diverts water from farmers to power projects, the BJP president and his party colleagues benefiting from it. What more proof needed that the water crisis in India’s most high risk farming zones is less to do with weather gods, but more with the political leadership.”
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Monday, 28 May 2012

कोरडवाहू शेतकरयांनी विदेशी बीटी बियाणे लावू नये-विदर्भ जन आन्दोलन समितीचे आवाहन

कोरडवाहू शेतकरयांनी विदेशी बीटी बियाणे लावू नये-विदर्भ जन आन्दोलन समितीचे आवाहन 
तभा वृत्तसेवा यवतमाळ, २८ मे 2012

 
 बहुराष्ट्रीय कंपन्यांना पोसणारी व गिरणी मालकांचे हितरक्षण करणारया कापसाच्या बीटी बियाण्यांची शेती सोडावी. अनियंत्रित रासायनिक खतांचा वापर न करता कमी पाण्याच्या, कोरडवाहू क्षेत्रात टिकणारया कापसाच्या वाणाचा वापर शेतकरयांनी करावा, असे आवाहन किशोर तिवारी यांनी केले आहे. विदर्भातील कोरडवाहू शेतकरयांनी परंपरागत पद्धतीने कीटकनाशकांचा व कापसासोबत ज्वारी, तूर, भुईमूग, मूगयासारखी पिके शेतकरयांनी घ्यावीत, असे आवाहन करीत सोमवारपासून विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीचे अध्यक्ष किशोर तिवारी यांच्या नेतृत्वात गावागावांत जाऊन शेतकरी संपर्क अभियान सुरू करण्यात आले आहे.
भारताचे कृषिमंत्री शरद पवार यांनी विदर्भाचे कोरडवाहू शेतकरी सिचनावर आधारित बीटी कापसाचे पीक घेऊन प्रत्येक वर्षी कमीतकमी दोन हजार कोटी रुपयांचे नुकसान करीत आहेत, असे लोकसभेत म्हटले आहे.
लोकसभेत सांसदीय समितीने पश्चिम विदर्भातील शेतकरयांच्या आत्महत्या व बीटी बियाण्यांचा वाढलेला पेरा याचा सरळ संबंध जोडून सरकारला कोरडवाहू क्षेत्रात चुकीचे बियाणे व पीक पेरण्याची परवानगी दिल्याबद्दल दोषी धरले आहे. भारतीय कृषी संस्थेने जगाचा दौरा करून भारताच्या कोरडवाहू क्षेत्रात अती पाण्याचे बीटी बियाणे लावण्यास बंदी टाकावी, अशी शिफारस केली आहे. असे असताना विदर्भातील कापूस उत्पादक शेतकरयांनी मागील पाच वर्षांचा लेखाजोखा घेऊन यावर्षी कापसाचा पेरा करण्यापूर्वी आमच्या विनंतीचा विचार करावा, असे आवाहन किशोर तिवारी यांनी केले आहे. 
 भारत सरकारला कोरडवाहू शेतीमध्ये शेतकरयांच्या फायद्याच तंत्रज्ञान तसेच पीक घेण्यासाठी धोरण बनवणे आवश्यक आहे, असेही त्यांनी म्हटले आहे. 
लगतच्या आंध्रप्रदेशमध्ये कीटकनाशक व रासायनिक शेती न करता ७०० खेड्यांत चार लाखांवर शेतकरयांनी आत्महत्येचा मार्ग सोडून कर्जातून मुक्ती मिळविली आहे. पश्चिम विदर्भालगतच्या आंध्रप्रदेशमध्ये कोरडवाहू शेतकरी आपले जीवन व पर्यावरण वाचवण्यासाठी परंपरागत शेतीकडे वळू शकतात, तर विदर्भाचे कोरडवाहू शेतकरी का वळणार नाहीत, या प्रेरणेने विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीने हे जनजागृती अभियान सुरू केले आहे. 
  सिचनावर आधारित अती पावसाचे पीक घेणे शेतकरयांना अतिशय महागडे झाले असून,शेतकरयांना हजारो रुपयांचे नुकसान सहन करावे लागत आहे. मात्र, बियाणे निर्माण करणारया विदेशी कंपन्या आपल्या बियाण्यांचा व कीटकनाशकांचा आणि सरकारच्या चुकीच्या निर्यात धोरणामुळे आपल्या तयार केलेल्या रासायनिक खतांचा वापर व्हावा यासाठी कोट्यवधी रुपयांची जाहिरात करीत आहेत. या कटामध्ये सर्व कृषी विद्यापीठ व कृषी विभाग सहभागी असून, शेतकरयांना दुसरया हरित क्रांतीचे गांजर दाखवून कर्जाच्या खाईत ढकलत आहे. कोरडवाहू क्षेत्रात भरड धान्याचे उत्पादन करणारया शेतकरयाला प्रती एकर १० हजार रुपये अनुदान देणे, कृषी खाते व कृषी विद्यापीठाने विदेशी कंपन्यांची दलाली सोडून आंध्र सरकारने जसा परंपरागत शेतीसाठी पुढाकार घेतला त्या प्रमाणे पुढाकार घेऊन शेतकरयांना आत्महत्येपासून वाचवावे, अशी विनंती किशोर तिवारी यांनी केली आहे. 
किशोर तिवारी यांचे आवाहन व त्यांनी केलेली विनंती याचा प्रचार विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीचे सदस्य मोहन जाधव, सुरेश बोलेनवर, मोरेश्वर वातिले, अंकित नैताम, भीमराव नैताम, नितीन कांबळे, संतोष नैताम हे गावोगाव फिरून करीत आहेत.

Say “Goodbye” to Bt.cotton –VJAS urged Maharashtra Dry land farmers


Say “Goodbye” to Bt.cotton –VJAS urged Maharashtra Dry land farmers

NAGPUR –May 28, 2012


The recent admission of Mr Sharad Pawar, Union agriculture minister, himself a great proponent of Bt.cotton seed and responsible for it’s permission and promotion in 2005  , in Parliament on Dec-ember 19, 2011: “Vidarbha produces about 1.2 quintals [cotton lint] per hectare on an average.” This is less than 20% of what conventional non-Bt farmers used to get in the late 1990s and early 2000. Vidarbha farmers are losing about Rs 2,000 crore per year, leading to increasing suicides by cotton farmers has exposed truth of success story and dream of second green revolution landing mass genocide of innocent cotton farmers of rain fed area of Maharashtra hence most vocal vidarbha cotton farmer’s advocacy group Vidarbha Jandolan Samiti (VJAS) will start door to door campaign urging all dry land farmers to say ‘Goodbuy’ to Bt.cotton cultivation as it is not sustainable and suitable for dry land farmers  , Kishor Tiwari of vidarbha advocacy group Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS) informed today.

“Vidarbha is agrarian crisis is directly linked with as all farmer suicide prone district mono crop  which is predominantly cultivated is Bt.cotton since 2005 and now it is proven fact that it’s classic example  of promoting wrong technology  to wrong class agrarian community as rain sensitive crop has proven killer seed in west vidarbha as 95% farmers opted this technology are dry land farmers hence we have decided to the message of union agriculture   Mr Sharad Pawar that to save vidarbha cotton farmers’ they should say Good buy to Bt.cotton moreover  advisory of ICAR to agriculture ministry after reviewing performance of Bt.cotton through out world Govt. ahs been advised to withdrew but business  interest  of union agriculture   Mr Sharad Pawar delay henc this door to door awareness campaign” Tiwari added.

Activist will urge vidarbha cotton farmers look at the facts that  the told  claims Bt.cotton cultivation are baseless and misleading . In 2004-5 when only 5% of cotton area in India had Bt, the yield was 470 kg per hectar. In 2011-12, when 90% of Indian cotton farms are growing Bt, the estimates are 480kgs per hectar wjere as in Maharashtra the yiels is  measly increase of 4 kg per acre! In Vidarbha, Maharashtra 96% of all cotton is Bt.cotton and the claims that were made to you with expensive Bt cotton seed when it was introduced - that it will reduce pesticide usage, increase yields, reduce cost of cultivation and improve your profits? Ten years later, you know that this did not materialise. Now it is very clear that these are only false hype and failed promises. Government's own research and data show that Bt cotton is unsuitable for unirrigated conditions and shallow soils. In Maharashtra, pesticide use has been steadily increasing despite large scale adoption of Bt cotton and expansion of cotton (from 3198 metric tonnes of technical grade material in 2005-06 to 4639 MT). Further, while the annual average number of farm suicides in the state was 2833 between 1997-2002 (before the entry of Bt cotton), which shot up to 4067, between 2003-08, in the years that Bt cotton expanded rapidly in the state. Meanwhile, nearly 93% of India's cotton seed market is controlled by just one American MNC, today. Crores of rupees have been pocketed by seed companies, even as the pesticides industry is posting good growth, year after year. Original problem was pests. Then, over the years, the problem became pesticides, when they hyped up pesticides as the only solution to your pest problems in cultivation. With Bt cotton, they said that the pesticides problem would be solved. However, today, farmers are dependent on external exploiters for seed, pesticides and fertilisers, with the returns not matching the costs or claims hence it is time we are urging cotton farmers to save ourselves , Tiwari said

“We are appealing dry land farmers who are innocent victims better Bt.cotton seed to look at  neighboring Andhra Pradesh, who farmers have adopted NPM practices in nearly 3.5 lakh acres, across different crops. Debts and migration are coming down in villages with NPM. Savings on spending otherwise going to line companies' pockets is running into crores of rupees. Yields are not falling. Net returns of farmers are increasing. Come, even as we fight the government for all its anti-farmer policies, let us also do what we can at our own level. Let us stop the exploiters from looting us. Let us adopt ecological practices like NPM in our agriculture, and benefit to some extent” Tiwari added.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

BJP urged to come clean on BJP MP Ajay Sancheti’s Role Irrigation Scam

BJP urged to come clean on BJP MP Ajay Sancheti’s Role Irrigation Scam


BJP urged to come clean on BJP MP  Ajay Sancheti’s Role Irrigation Scam
Nagpur -May 26, 2012
When Maharashtra Govt.  has decided to come out with white paper of status irrigation projects in Maharashtra here in vidarbha daily news paper owned by ex-MP and senior BJP leader has been publishing very shocking “Black Paper” on massive irrigation scam in last six years for project under AIBP under prime minister package exposing the politicians and contractors closed associated with then irrigation minister and Maharashtra Ajitdada Pawar and BJP National President Nitin Gadkari but second part of black (attached) here has shocked all BJP workers in Maharashtra when name of contractors’ firms owned by BJP MP Ajay Sancheti has managed to siphoned out more than Rs.113 crore fund floating all rules moreover his firms have been ,managed to get contracts worth Rs.815 crore followed close business associates of Ajitdada Pawar v.i.z. Avinash Bhasale  and Sandeep Bojoria  now all are the either parliament or upper house Maharashtra legislative council as Ajay Sancheti is BJP MP to RS and duo Avinash Bhasale  and Sandeep Bojoria  are NCP-BJP supported MLCs in Maharashtra legislative council .
“We have requested BJP Nitin Gadkari to come clean on this issue of involvement of BJP MP and National Executive  Ajay Sancheti as his party wants to come to power in 2014 fighting out corruption of UPA govt. when his owned close associate and fund manager who has recently elevated as national executive first then member of parliament as CAG and PAC both have raised serious question on these misdeed and irrigation scam hence BJP should disown his national executive involved in more than Rs.5000 crore irrigation scam and suspend him till all allegations are proven wrong” Kishor Tiwari of vidarbha 3 million dying coton farmers'  advocacy group Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS.) informed today.
“The Published Black Paper as it’s intro reports express anguish over mega  loot and fraud and abuse of political clout by a handful of people who were expected to turn Maharashtra into a paradise with lush green agricultural fields all over. This is a story that unfolded itself when farmers were hanging themselves or poisoning themselves to death under a terrible burden of debt. This is a story of how a handful few cared a damn for the farmers’ welfare and for the betterment of agriculture and emptied the State Exchequer by countless thousands of crores of rupees by selfish machinations and manipulations even as the farmers cried in silence as their fields went without a drop of water for long stretches of time. This story has been enacted all over Maharashtra, by political personalities, by Contractors with political clout, some of whom have now moved into haloed chambers of democracy. The gory details also show that this is an all-party loot of the State’s money in the name of development of irrigation potential. These details give only one impression: Such loot cannot take place unless the looters have the blessings of people in high places. And they also give rise to one common sense question: If such money was poured into Vidarbha’s irrigation projects, why is it that the agricultural fields are still dry, and why is farmers still commiting suicide? Obviously, the money is being siphoned off into private pockets. In Vidarbha, these details assume a murderous form. hence BJP leaders involved is matter of concern as Ajay Sancheti and his family has been in controversies in mega coal blocks deals too and has bagged mining contracts after Nitin Gadkari has taken charge of BJP Supremo moreover CAG recent  reports exposed the truth which will put BJP president new controversies  raising finger towards him as earlier in “Adarsh scam” three flats owned by Sancheti family was alleged by congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari as defacto ownership of Nitin Gadkari later he withdrawn allegation but in order to clean BJP we demand he should disown his earlier Business Associates Manish Mehta who has floated power company to set mega power projects in Yavtmal District which is also fingering his involvement may damage   “Anti-corruption”  slogan of BJP hence this appeal, Tiwari added.

Friday, 25 May 2012

कोरडवाहू शेतकर्‍यांनी अति पावसाचे पीक टाळावे-विदर्भ जनांदोलन समितीची जनजागरण मोहिम

कोरडवाहू शेतकर्‍यांनी अति पावसाचे पीक टाळावे-विदर्भ जनांदोलन समितीची बी.टी. बियाने विरुद्ध    जनजागरण मोहिम 

लोकशाही वार्ता/ २५ मे

पांढरकवडा : लगतच्या आंध्रप्रदेशातील ७00 खेड्यांमध्ये ४ लाखांवर शेतकर्‍यांनी आत्महत्येचा मार्ग सोडून किटकनाशक व रासायनिक शेती न करता कर्जबारीपणा पासून मुक्ती मिळविली आहे. जर पश्‍चिम विदर्भाच्या लगतच्या आंध्रप्रदेशमध्ये कोरडवाहू शेतकरी आपले जीवन व पर्यावरण वाचविण्यासाठी परंपरागत शेतीकडे वळू शकतात तर विदर्भाचे कोरडवाहू शेतकरी का वळणार नाही. या प्रेरणेने प्रेरीत होऊन विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीने विदर्भाच्या कोरडवाहू आत्महत्याग्रस्त शेतकर्‍यांनी बहुराष्ट्रीय कंपन्यांना पोसनारी व गिरणी मालकांचे हित रक्षण करणार्‍या सरकारचे गुलाम करणारी कापसाची बि. टी. बियाण्यांची शेती सोडून पंरपरागत पद्धतीने किटकनाशकाचा व अनियंत्रीत रासायनिक खतांचा वापर न करता कमी पाण्याचे कोरडवाहू क्षेत्रात टिकणार्‍या कापसाच्या वाणासोबत इतर ज्वारी, तुरी, भुईमुंग, मुंग यासारखे देशाला व शेतकर्‍यांना लागणारे पीक घेण्याचे आवाहन केले. यासाठी पुढील आठवड्यात २८ मे पासून गावागावात जाऊन शेतकरी संपर्क अभियान सुरू करणार असल्याची माहिती समितीचे नेते किशोर तिवारी यांनी दिली.
विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीचे शेतकरी कार्यकर्ते मोहन जाधव, सुरेश बोलेनवार, मोरेश्‍वर वातिले, अंकीत नैताम, भीमराव नैताम, नितिन कांबळे, नंदू जयस्वाल, राजू राठोड, संतोष नैताम आदि कार्यकर्ते प्रत्येक गावात जाऊन याबाबत मार्गदर्शन करणार आहेत. कोरडवाहू शेतीमध्ये सिंचनावर आधारीत अति पावसाचे पीक शेतक र्‍यांना घेणे अतिशय महागडे झाले असून सरकारच्या चुकीच्या निर्यात धोरणामुळे शेतकर्‍यांना हजारो कोटींचा तोटा होत आहे. मात्र, बियाणे निर्माण करणार्‍या विदेशी कंपन्या आपल्या बियाण्यांचा, किटकनाशकांचा व आपल्या तयार केलेल्या रासायनिक खतांचा वापर व्हावा यासाठी कोट्यवधी रुपयांची जाहीरात करीत आहेत. या कटामध्ये सर्व कृषी विद्यापीठ व कृषी विभाग शामील असून शेतकर्‍यांना दुसर्‍या हरीतक्रांतीचे गाजर दाखवून कर्जाच्या विहिरीत ढकलल्या जात आहे. भारताच्या सवरेच्य सांसदीय समितीने पश्‍चिम विदर्भातील शेतकर्‍यांच्या आत्महत्या व बि. टी. बियाण्यांचा वाढलेला पेरा याचा सरळ संबंध जोडून सरकारला कोरडवाहू क्षेत्रात चुकीचे बियाणे व पीक पेरण्याची परवानगी दिल्याबद्दल दोषी धरले आहे, तर भारतीय कृषी संशोधन संस्थेने जगाचा दौरा करून भारताच्या कोरडवाहू क्षेत्रात अती पाण्याचे बि.टी. बियाणे लावण्यास बंदी टाकावी अशी शिफारस केली आहे. त्यामुळे विदर्भाच्या कापूस उत्पादक शेतकर्‍यांनी मागील ५ वर्षांचा लेखाजोखा घेऊन कापसाचा पेरा करण्यापूर्वी आमच्या विनंतीचा विचार करावा असे आवाहन किशोर तिवारी यांनी केले आहे.
जल सिंचनाच्या योजनांवर विदर्भात ३0 हजार कोटी रुपये खर्च करूनही विदर्भाचे सिंचन क्षेत्र फक्त ३ टक्क्याने वाढले आहे. सारे सिंचनाचे प्रकल्प पूर्ण झाले तरी जेमतेम २0 टक्के क्षेत्रच सिंचनाखाली येणार आहे. म्हणून कोरडवाहू शेती करणार्‍या शेतकर्‍यांच्या समस्या सोडविण्यासाठी भरड धान्याला सार्वजनिक वितरण प्रणालीमध्ये स्थान देणे, कोरडवाहू क्षेत्रात भरड धान्याचे उत्पादन करणार्‍या शेतकर्‍यांना प्रति एकर १0 हजार रुपये अनुदान देणे, कृषी खाते व कृषी विद्यापिठाने विदेशी कंपन्यांची दलाली सोडून आंध्र सरकारने जसा परंपरागत शेतीसाठी पुढकार घेतला त्या प्रमाणे पुढाकार घेऊन शेतकर्‍यांना आत्महत्येपासून वाचवावे अशी विनंती किशोर तिवारी यांनी केली आहे.
आमचे कार्यकर्ते गावा गावात जाऊन प्रगतिशील शेतकरी सुभाष पाळेकर यांची नैसर्गिक शेती, पर्यावरणास अनुकूल कृषी संशोधन केंद्र यांची किटकनाशकाचा वापर न करता आंध्रप्रदेशातील ७00 खेड्यात होत असलेल्या शेतीची चित्रफित दाखवितात अशी माहिती समितीचे सचिव मोहन जाधव यांनी दिली.
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Monday, 21 May 2012

२९ प्रकल्पांतून एका थेंबाचेही सिंचन नाही-सुरेश भुसारी-लोकमत

२९ प्रकल्पांतून एका थेंबाचेही सिंचन नाही-सुरेश भुसारी-लोकमत
सुरेश भुसारी। दि. २0 (नागपूर)
विदर्भातील५४ मध्यम सिंचन प्रकल्पापैकी २९ सिंचन प्रकल्पातून आतापर्यंत एका थेंबाचेही सिंचन झाले नाही. त्यावर खर्च मात्र ४५0 कोटी रुपये झाले
आहेत.विदर्भात एकूण ५४ मध्यम सिंचन प्रकल्प आहेत. हे सर्व प्रकल्प पूर्ण करण्यासाठी ८ हजार ३0६ कोटी रुपयांची आवश्यकता आहे. आतापर्यंत केवळ ३ हजार ३५६ कोटी रुपये खर्च झाले आहेत. यातून २ लाख ७२ हजार १८९ हेक्टर शेतीचे सिंचन व्हायला पाहिजे होते. हे उद्दिष्ट केवळ ८७ हजार ३११ हेक्टर एवढेच साध्य झालेले आहे. प्रकल्पीय उद्दिष्टापैकी केवळ ३२ टक्के सिंचन आतापर्यंत होऊ शकले.यात मजेशीर गोष्ट म्हणजे २९ सिंचन प्रकल्पातून शेतीच्या एक गुंठय़ाला पाणी मिळाले नाही. कन्हान नदीवर होणारा कोची बॅरेज प्रकल्प नागपूरसाठी पाणी पुरवठा करण्यासाठी महत्त्वपूर्ण ठरणार आहे.या प्रकल्पाला २00७ मध्ये मंजुरी मिळाली यातून १.४६ दशलक्ष घनमीटर पाण्याचा साठा होणार आहे. जवळपास १७ कोटी रुपये खर्च झाल्यानंतर काम पुढे गेलेले नाही. अशीच स्थिती इतर मध्यम प्रकल्पांची आहे. त्याचप्रमाणे निम्न चुलबंद, सुरेवाडी (दोन्ही भंडारा), झाशीनगर उपसा, रजेगावकाटी, तेढवा शिवणी (तिन्ही गोंदिया),  भेंडाळा, बोरघाट, पळसवाडी-आमडी, दिंडोरा (सर्व चंद्रपूर), हल्दी पुरानी, महागाव गर्रा, डोंगरगाव-ठाणेगाव, कोटगल, रेंगुठा, देवलमारी, तळोधी-मोकासा व  चिंचडोह (सर्व गडचिरोली) या नागपूर विभागातील प्रकल्पांमधून काहीच सिंचन झालेले नाही.
हीच स्थिती अमरावती विभागातील मध्यम प्रकल्पांची आहे. पेंढी व गर्गा (दोन्ही अमरावती), काटेपूर्णा बॅरेज, उमा बॅरेज, पूर्णा बॅरेज क्र. २ व घुंगशी (सर्व अकोला), उंबर्डा (वाशिम), टाकळी-डोलारी, वर्धा  बॅरेज (दोन्ही यवतमाळ) या प्रकल्पांमधूनही पाण्याचे सिंचन होऊ शकले नाही. यातील बहुतेक प्रकल्प केंद्र सरकारची मान्यता किंवा निविदा प्रक्रियेत आहेत. ज्या प्रकल्पांची कामे सुरू झाली, त्या प्रकल्पांची कामे १0 ते २0 टक्क्यांपेक्षा अधिक झालेली नाही. प्रशासकीय मान्यता, निविदेची प्रक्रिया व  निधीची उपलब्धता लक्षात घेतली तर हे प्रकल्प पुढील किमान २0 वर्षेतरी पूर्ण होण्याची शक्यता नसल्याचे जाणकारांचे म्हणणे आहे.
३५ वर्षांपासून काम सुरूच
मध्यम प्रकल्पांपैकी तीन प्रकल्प तर तब्ब्ल ३५ वर्षांंपासून सुरूच आहेत. नागपूर जिल्ह्यातील पेंढरी प्रकल्पाला १३ डिसेंबर १९७७ रोजी प्रशासकीय मान्यता मिळाली.तेव्हा या प्रकल्पाची किंमत केवळ ८७ लाख एवढी होती. आज हा प्रकल्प ११ कोटी ७0 लाखांवर पोहोचला आहे. सिंचन मात्र शून्य. हा    प्रकल्पच केंद्र सरकारने नाकारल्याने सुधारित प्रस्ताव २00९ मध्ये केंद्राकडे पाठविला आहे.गडचिरोली जिल्ह्यातील कारवाफा या प्रकल्पाला ३0 नोव्हेंबर १९७७ रोजी मान्यता मिळाली. तेव्हाचा खर्च ३ कोटी ३९ लाख एवढा होता. आज या प्रकल्पाचा खर्च १0६ कोटी ४३ लाखांवर पोहोचला आहे. याच जिल्ह्यातील चेन्नानदी प्रकल्पाला १३ मे १९७७ रोजी मान्यता मिळाली. तेव्हा या प्रकल्पाची किंमत १ कोटी ८२ लाख एवढीच होती. आज या प्रकल्पाची किंमत ५९ कोटी ७१ लाखावर पोहोचली आहे

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Vidarbha Farmers Demand PM’s Intervention in Agrarian Crisis-Deccan Herald

Vidarbha Farmers Demand PM’s Intervention in Agrarian Crisis-Deccan Herald

Mumbai, may 20, 2012, DHNS
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/251007/vidarbha-farmers-demand-pms-intervention.html#
 A cotton farmers’ association from eastern Maharashtra has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take cognisance of the agrarian crisis that has turned the “white gold belt” Vidarbha into a “land of death”, where the number of farmers committing suicides is going up everyday.

After much haranguing and heavy barrage of news reports highlighting water-scarcity in western Maharashtra, the Centre released Rs 700 crore relief aid earlier this month for several districts, considered to be a  Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) turf.

The Centre’s move to aid western Maharashtra has sparked anger in the Vidarbha region which has been witnessing farmers suicides for the past several years due to interplay of various factors.

Speaking to Deccan Herald over the phone from Nagpur, Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti’s  Kishore Tiwari said: “On Saturday, a newspaper owned by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s family reported that over 300 farmers have committed suicide in western Vidarbha’s six districts.

It is not our statistics. The newspaper quoted government figures. Then why is it that no relief package is earmarked for this region?”

“We have sent a copy of the news report and the government figures to the prime minister requesting him to look into the matter immediately, and save the lives of farmers.”

As per the government statistics, in the last six years, the number of farmer suicides is 8,520. According to newspaper reports which quote officials,  300 farmers have resorted to suicide from January to May 20 this year.

“Incidentally, this figure of 300 does not include the five districts of eastern Vidarbha,” Kishore Tiwari said.

Dowry system fuelling farmers’ suicides in Vidarbha-IANS


Dowry system fuelling farmers’ suicides in Vidarbha

Mumbai/Nagpur, May 20 (IANS) The dowry system is driving many farmers of Maharshtra’s Vidarbha region to suicide, a fact which was brought into national focus Sunday on ‘Satyamev Jayate’, Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan’s popular show.
In an interview on the show, Usha Ashtekar, 25, spoke about how her father borrowed from a money-lender but had to repay the loan even before he could get Usha married.
‘My father took a loan from a money-lender to get me married. But before he could do so, the money-lender made my father repay the loan by using force. Worried about my marriage plus the bad condition of our farm, he committed suicide two years back,’ Usha told IANS from her village Sakra in Pandharkawada tehsil of Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district.
‘later, my brother and mother took another loan and spent over Rs.3 lakh on my wedding, bowing down to the needs of my in-laws. But it was all in vain as their demands kept increasing. I had to return to my mother’s home in only three months as I could no longer bear their torture,’ she added.
Usha, who has been married for over a year, is still staying at her mother’s home and prays that her husband will call her back some day.
‘Usha is one of the many cases that have met a similar fate. According to a survey done by the Maharashtra government in 2006, out of 20 lakh households in Vidarbha, around 4 lakh households had daughters of marriageable age,’ said Kishor Tiwari, President of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), a farmers advocacy group.
‘But most of these girls did not get married due to lack of resources. The survey also said that the entire credit chain of these farmers was disturbed as they had to use the loan money in their daughters’ marriage instead of using them for betterment of their farms,’ Tiwari said.
Tiwari pointed out that there has been no such survey in the last six years and that VJAS is planning to demand for a similar survey.
‘It is inhuman to ask for dowry, as those seeking dowry are themselves aware of the grave crisis in Vidarbha,’ Tiwari said.
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Saturday, 19 May 2012

विदर्भातील ४ हजार ३00 च्या वर खेड्यात भीषण पाणीटंचाई- लोकशाही वार्ता

विदर्भातील ४ हजार ३00 च्या वर खेड्यात भीषण पाणीटंचाई

 लोकशाही वार्ता/ १९ मे
यवतमाळ : राज्य शासनाने सातारा व सांगली या पश्‍चिम महाराष्ट्रातील जिल्ह्याला ७00 कोटींची मदत दिली जाणार आहे. विदर्भातील ४ हजार ३00 च्या वर खेड्यात भीषण पाणीटंचाई असताना विदर्भातील मंत्री व विरोधी पक्षाच्या चुप्पीमुळे ग्रामीण जनतेला प्रचंड त्रास सहन करावा लागत आहे. सरकारने विदर्भातील कमीत कमी १ हजार कोटिंचे पॅकेज द्यावे, अशी मागणी विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीने केली आहे.
महाराष्ट्राच्या मुख्यमंत्र्यांनी पंतप्रधानांची भेट घेऊन महाराष्ट्रातील भीषाण दुष्काळावर मात करण्यासाठी २ हजार कोटिंची तातडीची मदत मागितल्यानंतर केंद्र सरकारने कृषिमंत्री शरद पवार, वित्तमंत्री प्रणव मुखर्जी , सासंदीय कार्यमंत्री बन्सल व योजना आयोगाचे उपाध्यक्ष मॉन्टेकसिेंग अहलुवालीया अधिकृत घोषणा करण्यासाठी संपूर्ण प्रस्ताव तयार झाला असून यात विदर्भ व मराठवाड्याच्या ७0 लाख हेक्टरमध्ये पावसाने दडी दिल्यामुळे नापिकीला तोंड देत असलेल्या व कर्जबाजारीपणामुळे व नैराश्यामुळे आत्महत्या करणार्‍या शेतकर्‍यांच्या जिल्ह्याचा समावेश नसून पंतप्रधानांनी या पॅकेजमध्ये विदर्भ व मराठवाड्यासाठी स्वतंत्र १ हजार कोटीची मदत दुष्काळग्रस्तांसाठी जाहीर करावी, अशी मागणी विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीचे नेते किशोर तिवारी यांनी केली आहे. विदर्भ व मराठवाड्याच्या जिल्ह्यांना केंद्राच्या समितीने भेट देऊन दुष्काळाच्या तीव्रतेची कल्पना केंद्र सरकारला स्वतंत्र अहवालाद्वारे दिली आहे.
महाराष्ट्र सरकारने डिसेंबरमध्ये विदर्भ, मराठवाडा, खान्देश व उत्तर महाराष्ट्रातील ९0 लाख हेक्टरमध्ये दुष्काळ पडल्यामुळे पिकांची नापिकी झाली आहे व यासाठी २ हजार कोटीच्या मदतीची घोषणा केली होती. मात्र याच महाराष्ट्र सरकारने डिसेंबरमध्ये विदर्भ, मराठवाडा, खान्देश व उत्तर महाराष्ट्रातील ९0 लाख हेक्टरमध्ये दुष्काळ पडल्यामुळे पिकाची नापिकी झाली आहे व यासाठी २ हजार कोटींच्या मदतीची घोषणा केली होती, ही मदत पिकाच्या नुकसान भरपाईच्या स्वरुपात शेतकर्‍यांना तत्काळ देण्याचे सरकारने कबुल केले होते. परंतु ५ महिने लोटल्यानंतरही आत्महत्याग्रस्त शेतकर्‍यांना सरकारने एक दमडीही दिली नाही. सरकारने घोषित केलेल्या मदतीमध्ये दुष्काळामध्ये चारा, पाणी, रोजगार व इतरआवश्यक मदतीसाठी सरकारने कोणतीही मदत जाहीर केली नव्हती. आज विदर्भ व मराठवाड्याच्या सर्वच जिल्ह्यात कोरडा दुष्काळ पडला असून अंदाजे १२ हजार खेड्यामध्ये पिण्याचे पाण्याचे संकट उपस्थित झाले आहे. तर कुठेही जनावरांच्या चार्‍याची व्यवस्था करण्यात आलेली नाही. रोजगार हमी योजनेच्या कामावर विदर्भ व मराठवाड्यात जेमतेम २0 हजार मजूर कामावर दाखविले जात असले तरी प्रत्यक्षात मात्र ९0 टक्के कामे मशीनद्वारे ठेकेदारामार्फत करण्यात येत आहे.याकडे लक्ष वेधले आहे. केंद्र सरकारने विदर्भ व मराठवाड्यासाठी १ हजार कोटीचे स्वतंत्र पॅकेज द्यावे,अशी मागणी किशोर तिवारी यांनी केली आहे.

Friday, 18 May 2012

300 Farmers Suicides officially reported in 2012 in Six Districts of West Vidarbha- Prime Minister urged for Urgent Intervention

300 Farmers Suicides officially reported in 2012 in Six Districts of West Vidarbha- Prime Minister urged for Urgent Intervention 

Nagpur- Saturday, May 19, 2012

When central Govt. and Maharashtra is working hard to disburse Rs.700 Crore relief aid released to specific districts of   western Maharashtra after server followup  of union minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar ,News Paper 'SAKAL' owned his family reported today that more than 300 farmers committed suicides in six districts of farm suicide prone west vidarbha taking tally to 8520 as per official reports of Maharashtra Govt. ,the agrarian crisis has hit badly to the region where in an average @ 8 hourly one innocent cotton farmer is committing suicide since June 2005 but recent figure of farm suicides given by administration is totally contradicting Govt. own data that farmers suicides number has drastically reduced and  shows ground reality too serious to explain hence we demand urgent intervention of Indian Prime  Minister  as local Maharashtra failed to tackle crisis moreover all  relief packages given by center amounting more than RS.5000 crore has been siphoned out by politician and contractors as per reports of CVC,CAG and PAC ,informed Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Jandolan Samiti (VJAS) farmers rights group  fighting save dying cotton farmer community since 1997 reported today .
"if west vidarbha farmers suicide figure is more than 300 then east vidarbha's five districts which also under severe drought will add certainly more than 150 taking toll 450 which is much more shocking than earlier years figure reflecting size and gravity of the crisis hence center intervention is must to save dying farmers who are killing themselves due debt and distress "Tiwari added.
 here is report publish by daily SAKAL on it's front page 
QUOTE 



विदर्भाच्या आत्महत्याग्रस्त 6 जिल्ह्यांमध्ये  135 दिवसांत 300 शेतकऱ्यांच्या आत्महत्या-सकाळ वृत्तसेवा

 Saturday, May 19, 2012 AT 04:30 AM (IST)
http://online2.esakal.com/esakal/20120519/4982566681578913101.htm
अमरावती - शेतकऱ्यांच्या आत्महत्या थांबाव्या यासाठी विविध स्तरांवर प्रयत्न केले जात आहेत; तरीदेखील आत्महत्या थांबण्याचे नावच घेत नसल्याची गंभीर स्थिती आहे. चालू वर्षाच्या 135 दिवसांत शेतकऱ्यांच्या आत्महत्येचा आकडा 300 च्या घरात गेल्याची धक्कादायक माहिती आहे.

विशेष म्हणजे, गेल्याच महिन्यात विदर्भाच्या 6 जिल्ह्यांत 82; तर मे महिन्यात आतापर्यंत 14 शेतकऱ्यांनी जीवनयात्रा संपविली. 2001 पासूनच शेतकऱ्यांच्या आत्महत्यांची मालिका विदर्भातील अमरावती, यवतमाळ, अकोला, वाशीम, बुलडाणा तसेच वर्धा या सहा जिल्ह्यांत सुरू झाली होती. 2005 साली या 6 जिल्ह्यांत 445 शेतकऱ्यांनी आत्महत्या केल्याने पॅकेजची घोषणा करण्यात आली. शासनाने शेतकऱ्यांसाठी विविध योजना हाती घेण्याच्या घोषणा केल्या. तथापि, 2006 साली 1,449 शेतकऱ्यांनी आत्महत्या केल्याने हे प्रकरण अधिकच गंभीर झाले. शेतकऱ्यांच्या आत्महत्या रोखण्यासाठी मुख्यमंत्र्यांचे 1,075 कोटी रुपयांचे पॅकेज तसेच पंतप्रधानांचे 3,750 कोटी रुपयांचे पॅकेज शासनाने जाहीर केले. या पॅकेजचा निधी 2010 मध्ये संपला. मात्र, शासकीय आकडेवारीवर नजर टाकली, तरी ज्या कालावधीत पॅकेजचा निधी होता व शेतकऱ्यांना विविध योजनांचा लाभ दिला जात होता, त्याच कालावधीत सर्वांधिक आत्महत्या झाल्यात. या 5 वर्षांत तब्बल 6 हजार 26 शेतकऱ्यांनी आपली जीवनयात्रा संपविली.

यावर्षी अमरावती जिल्ह्यातील 1,981 गावांची आणेवारी 50 पैशाच्या आत आहे. बुलडाणा जिल्ह्यातील 1,419 पैकी 747 गावांची आणेवारी 50 पैशाच्या आत आहे. त्यामुळे विभागातील या 2 जिल्ह्यांतील एकूण 2,728 गावांत दुष्काळ आहे. या स्थितीतही दुष्काळ निवारणासाठी करावयाच्या कामांना अद्याप वेग आलेला नाही. केवळ उपाययोजना आखण्यात आल्याचे सांगितले जाते. त्यामुळे येत्या काही दिवसांत पावसाचे आगमन झाल्यावर दुष्काळावर उपाययोजना करणार काय, असा प्रश्‍न विचारला जात आहे. गतवर्षी पिकांची स्थिती दयनीय झालेली होती. शेतकऱ्यांना त्यांच्या शेतमालाचा योग्य मोबदलादेखील मिळालेला नाही. कापूस, सोयाबीन सोबतच आता हळद, कांदा पिकालादेखील भाव मिळत नसल्याची गंभीर स्थिती आहे. विदर्भात सिंचनसोयींचा अभाव हेच पिकांची दयनीय स्थिती होण्यास कारणीभूत असताना या गंभीर विषयाकडे येथील पुढारी लक्ष देण्यास तयार नाहीत.

74 शेतकरी अपात्र
आत्महत्याग्रस्त 6 जिल्ह्यांमध्ये 300 शेतकऱ्यांनी आत्महत्या केली, तरी त्यातील 74 शेतकरी अपात्र ठरविण्यात आलेत. त्यामुळे त्यांच्या कुटुंबीयांना कोणताही शासकीय लाभ मिळणार नाही. 48 शेतकरी पात्र ठरलेत. 178 प्रकरणे चौकशीसाठी प्रलंबित आहेत.

शेतकऱ्यांच्या आत्महत्या  (शासकीय आकडेवारी
2006 - 1,449
2007 - 1,247
2008 - 1,148
2009 - 1,005
2010 - 1,177
2001 ते 2012 - 8,520 आत्महत्या

(शासकीय आकडेवारी )
जानेवारी ते आजपर्यंतच्या आत्महत्या

यवतमाळ - 69
अमरावती - 68
अकोला - 52
बुलडाणा - 49
वाशीम - 32
वर्धा - 30

2012 तील आत्महत्या
जानेवारी - 65
फेब्रुवारी - 64
मार्च - 75
एप्रिल - 82
मे (आजपर्यंत) - 14

===========================
 UNQUOTE  

OFFICIAL DATA OF FARMER SUICIDE 
2006 - 1,449
2007 - 1,247
2008 - 1,148
2009 - 1,005
2010 - 1,177
2001 ते 2012 - 8,520

(GOVT.FIGURE )
FROM  JAN.2012 AS ON TODAY FARMERS SUICIDES DISTRICT WISE

YAVATMAL - 69
AMARAVATI - 68
AKOLA- 52
BULDHANA - 49
WASHIM- 32
WARDHA - 30

FARMERS SUICIDES IN 2012 MONTH WISE
JAN- 65
FEB. - 64
MARCH - 75
APRIL - 82
MAY (AS ON TODAY) - 14
====================

'we have been documenting farmers suicides since 1997 but such huge official farm suicides figure confirmation was not given this is serious indication  as Govt. and babus administration are always hiding truth hence we want urgent announcement of relief package to vidrabh"Tiwari urged.

आश्रमशाळेत सीसीटीव्ही कॅमेरे लावण्याची मागणी-लोकमत

आश्रमशाळेत सीसीटीव्ही कॅमेरे लावण्याची मागणी-लोकमत 
यवतमाळ। दि. १८ (कार्यालय प्रतिनिधी)
आश्रमशाळा ही राजकीय नेत्यांची कुरण बनली आहे. या शाळेच्या माध्यमातून मागासवर्गीय विद्यार्थ्यांच्या नावावर अनुदान लाटले जाते. या गैरप्रकाराला आळा घालण्यासाठी राज्य शासनाने प्रत्येक शाळेत बायोमेट्रिक पद्धतीने अंगठय़ाचा ठसा घेऊन उपस्थितीची नोंद घ्यावी तसेच सीसीटीव्ही कॅमेरे लावून संपूर्ण कारभारावरच नियंत्रण ठेवावे, अशी मागणी विदर्भ जन आंदोलन समितीचे किशोर तिवारी यांनी केली आहे. 
विद्यार्थी व कर्मचार्‍यांची उपस्थिती बायोमेट्रिक पद्धतीने केल्यास २५ टक्के अनुदानात बचत होईल. शाळेच्या जेवणावळीत भांडारघर व प्रत्येक वर्गाचे, विद्यार्थ्यांच्या झोपण्याच्या जागेत २४ तास रेकॉर्डींग सीसीटीव्ही कॅमेर्‍याच्या माध्यमातून केल्यास राज्य शासनाचा अनुदानात मोठय़ा प्रमाणात बचत होईल. 
सध्या राज्यशासन एका विद्यार्थ्यावर प्रतिमाह १२00 रुपये खर्च करते. तर संस्थाचालकांचा प्रति विद्यार्थ्यांवर जेमतेम खर्च होत आहे. दुध, फळ व अंडी असा सकस आहार विद्यार्थ्यांना मिळत नाही. राज्य शासनाने या सर्व गोष्टींना पायाबंद घालण्यासाठी सीसीटीव्ही कॅमेरे व बायोमेट्रिक उपस्थिती तंत्रज्ञानाचा उपयोग करावा, अशी मागणी होत आहे.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

विदर्भातील दुष्काळाकडे केंद्राचे दुर्लक्ष-लोकसत्ता



विदर्भातील दुष्काळाकडे केंद्राचे दुर्लक्ष ; शेतकरी नेत्यांची टीका-लोकसत्ता 
 नागपूर / खास प्रतिनिधी
alt एकूण सहा हजार दुष्काळग्रस्त खेडय़ांपैकी चार हजार खेडी विदर्भात असताना सुद्धा सरकारच्या दुष्काळाबाबतच्या उपाययोजनांचा केंद्रबिंदू मात्र फक्त पश्चिम महाराष्ट्राच असल्याने केंद्राकडून मिळणाऱ्या वाटय़ात विदर्भाला काहीच मिळणार नसल्याची टीका आता शेतकरी नेते करू लागले आहेत.राज्यातील दुष्काळाच्या संदर्भात महाराष्ट्राचे मुख्यमंत्री पृथ्वीराज चव्हाण यांनी पंतप्रधान मनमोहनसिंग यांची भेट घेतली आणि दोन हजार कोटी रुपयांच्या मदतीची मागणी केली होती. त्यानंतर केंद्रीय कृषीमंत्री शरद पवार, अर्थमंत्री प्रणव मुखर्जी आणि नियोजन आयोगाचे अध्यक्ष मॉन्टेसिंग अहलुवालिया यांनी राज्याला ७०० कोटींच्या मदतीचे पॅकेज तयार केले आहे. या निधीतून फक्त पश्चिम महाराष्ट्रातील दुष्काळी तालुक्यांनाच मदत करणार असल्याचे मुख्यमंत्र्यांनी स्पष्ट केल्याने विदर्भाच्या दुष्काळी गावांचे काय असा सवाल विदर्भ जनआंदोल समितीचे प्रमुख किशोर तिवारी यांनी केला आहे. विदर्भ आणि मराठवाडय़ातील पीक नष्ट झाले आहे. या भागासाठी पंतप्रधानांनी एक हजार कोटी रुपयांचे स्वतंत्र पॅकेज जाहीर करावे, अशी मागणी तिवारी यांनी केली आहे. केंद्राची चमू विदर्भाच्या दौऱ्यावर आली होती व त्यांनी त्यांचा अहवाल केंद्र सरकारला सादर केला आहे. मात्र दुष्काळी भागासाठी केंद्राकडे मदत मागताना राज्य शासनाने विदर्भ आणि मराठवाडय़ातील दुष्काळी भागाकडे केंद्राचे लक्ष वेधले नाही, असा आरोपही तिवारी यांनी केला आहे. राज्य शासनाने हिवाळी अधिवेशनाच्या दरम्यान विदर्भ, मराठवाडा आणि उर्वरित महाराष्ट्रासाठी दोन हजार कोटींचे पॅकेज जाहीर केले होते. पण पाच महिने झाल्यानंतरही शेतकऱ्यांना ही मदत पूर्णपणे मिळाली नाही.
विदर्भात मोठय़ा प्रमाणात पाणी आणि वैरण टंचाई आहे. रोजगार हमी योजनेच्या कामावर मशीनव्दारे काम करण्यात येत आहे त्यामुळे मजुरांना तेथ कामच मिळत नसल्याचा दावा तिवारी यांनी केला आहे. 
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Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Maharashtra:Massive shift likely from cotton to soya this year-Times of India

 
Printed from

Maharashtra:Massive shift likely from cotton to soya this year

NAGPUR: Having burned their fingers in cotton because of crop loss and bad market conditions last year, the cotton cultivation area could shrink this year by 20%. Vidarbha farmers are now preferring the other favourite cash crop - soyabean - this year. Low demand for cotton seeds as well as fertilizers clearly indicates this, agriculture input traders said on Tuesday.
Maharashtra traditionally has the largest area under cotton mainly in Vidarbha, Marathwada and some parts of Khandesh. Last year cotton crop area saw a huge jump because of unprecedented rates of Rs 7000 per quintal that ruled in the preceding year. But the last kharif season was a big let down. Prices tumbled to as low as Rs 3500. As a result, income shrunk and farmers could barely recover investment. Now, with costs of fertilizers, pesticides and labour having gone up further, farmers think soyabean offers a better alternative.
"Soyabean needs lesser application of fertilizers and spraying of pesticides, insecticides as compared to cotton. The crop duration is shorter by almost a month compared to cotton and it needs lesser care and labour being a hardy crop," explained Bablu Gupta, a farm inputs trader from Yavatmal.
What makes it even more attractive is that after a soya crop, a farmer can immediately take up a crop of gram (chana) or groundnut. This is not possible after cotton which is almost a year-long crop in rain-fed lands of the region.
Gupta confirmed that demand for cotton is poor this time while it's picking up for soyabean. "The sowing pattern may differ in every taluka and district. But there are clear indications that cotton crop area may come down by over 20% this time. Making farmers more inclined to soya is the high market prices ruling currently. Soya which got barely Rs 1800 to Rs 2200 a quintal at start if last year climbed steadily and is now commanding between Rs 3500 and Rs 4000," said Gupta.
Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti's Kishore Tiwari also confirmed that the shift from cotton to soya is decisive this time. "Normally this shift is of below 10%. But this kharif it could exceed 20%," he said. "There are chances of the total land area under cotton shrinking from 42 lakh hectares of last year to little over 30 lakh hectares this time. Last time farmers found their costing had gone haywire. There was no match between investment, yields and returns. With government's policy flip flops on exports dealing further blows to farmers suffered huge losses. Cotton is likely to be shunned now," he added.
Tiwari said farmers should also consider taking up food crops and pulses instead of soyabean as the country faces huge shortage in pulses which are met with imports.
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Monday, 14 May 2012

पंतप्रधानांच्या दुष्काळग्रस्तांच्या ७00 कोटी मदतीत विदर्भ, मराठवाड्याला 'खो'-विदर्भ, मराठवाड्यातील दुष्काळ निवारणासाठी १५00 कोटी द्या

पंतप्रधानांच्या दुष्काळग्रस्तांच्या ७00 कोटी मदतीत विदर्भ, मराठवाड्याला 'खो'-विदर्भ, मराठवाड्यातील दुष्काळ निवारणासाठी १५00 कोटी द्या
 किशोर तिवारी यांचा आरोप
लोकशाही वार्ता / १४ मे
यवतमाळ : राज्याच्या मुख्यमंत्र्यांनी पंतप्रधानाची भेट घेऊन महाराष्ट्रातील भीषण दुष्काळावर मात करण्यासाठी २000 कोटींची तातडीची मदत मागीतल्या नंतर केंद्र सरकारचे कृषी मंत्री शरद पवार, वित्तमंत्री प्रणव मुखर्जी, सांसदीय कार्यमंत्री बन्सल व योजना आयोगाचे उपाध्यक्ष मॉन्टेकसिंग अहलुवालिया यांनी पश्‍चिम महाराष्ट्राच्या निवडक जिलसाठी ७00 कोटीचे पॅकेज तयार केले असून पंतप्रधानांच्या मंजुरी नंतर अधिकृत घोषणा करण्यासाठी संपूर्ण प्रस्ताव तयार झाला. मात्र यात विदर्भ व मराठवाड्याच्या ७0 लाख हेक्टरमध्ये पावसाने दडी दिल्याने नापिकींना तोंड देत असलेल्या व शेतकरी आत्महत्येसाठी प्रसिध्द असलेल्या जिलंनाच खो देण्यात आलेला आहे. विदर्भ व मराठवाड्यासाठी स्वतंत्र१५00 कोटीचे दृष्काळग्रस्तांसाठी पंतप्रधानांनी पॅकेज जाहीर करावे, अशी मागणी विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीचे अध्यक्ष किशोर तिवारी यांनी पंतप्रधानांना पाठविलेल्या फॅक्सद्वारे केली आहे.
विदर्भ व मराठवाड्याच्या जिलंना केंद्राच्या समितीने भेट देवून दुष्काळाच्या स्थितीची पाहणी करुन केंद्र सरकारला स्वतंत्र अहवाल सादर केला आहे. मात्र राज्याच्या मुख्यमंत्र्यांनी मदतीचा आग्रह धरतांना विदर्भ व मराठवाड्यांचा समावेश केला नव्हता हे सत्य योजना आयोगाने मदतीच्या प्रारुपामध्ये स्पष्ट केले आहे.मात्र याच महाराष्ट्र सरकारने डिसेंबर मध्ये विदर्भ मराठवाडा , खांदेश व उत्तर महाराष्ट्रातील ९0 लाख हेक्टर दुष्काळ पडल्यामुळे पिकांची नापिकी झाली आहे व यासाठी २000 कोटीच्या मदतीची घोषणा केली होती. ही मदत पिकाच्या नुकसान भरपाईच्या स्वरुपात देण्याचे कबुल केले होते. परंतु ५ महिने लोटल्यानंतरही आत्महत्याग्रस्त शेतकर्यांना सरकारने एक दमडीही दिली नाही. सरकारने घोषित केलेल्या मदतीमध्ये दुष्काळामध्ये चार पाणी, रोजगार व इतरआवश्यक मदतीसाठी सरकारने कोणतीही मदत जाहिर केली नव्हती. आज विदर्भ व मराठवाड्याच्या सर्वच जिलत कोरडा दुष्काळ पडला असून अंदाजे १२ हजार खेड्यांमध्ये पिण्याच्या पाण्याचे संकट उपस्थित झाले आहे. तर कुठेही जनावरांच्या चार्यांची व्यवस्था करण्यात आली नाही. रोजगार हमी योजनेच्या कामावर विदर्भ व मराठवाड्यामध्ये २0 हजार मजुर कामावर दाखविले जात असले तरी प्रत्यक्षात मात्र ९0 टक्के कामे मशिनद्वारे ठेकेदारा मार्फत करण्यात येत आहे. या भ्रष्टाचारास प्रशासकीय मान्यता मिळाली आहे. अश्या परिस्थितीमध्ये विदर्भ व मराठवाड्याला कें्रद सरकारच्या मदतीपासून वंचित ठेवण्यात आले आहे. हा सावत्रपणा असून केंद्र सरकारने व विदर्भ व मराठवाड्यातील दुष्काळावर मात करण्यासाठी १५00 कोटीचे स्वतंत्र पॅकेज द्यावे अशी मागणी विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीचे नेते किशोर तिवारी यांनी केली आहे. 
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Saturday, 12 May 2012

Indian Cotton Export Policy Flip-flop is behind Fresh Cotton Rates Slide


 Indian Cotton Export Policy Flip-flop is behind Fresh Cotton Rates Slide

Nagpur: May 12, 2012
It was obvious that Indian cotton production and supply is real pendulum of international prices when cotton future prices shut up to upper circuit in US and china on march 5th this year when Indian Govt. imposed blanket ban on cotton export in order to clear environment so that hopeless traders to forcibly off-load their stock to domestic textile-mills and Garment Industries as Nobody was able understand the move of the commerce ministry to ban cotton export when domestic demand is just 20 million bales as against National production of 35 million bales. There was no reason to put restrictions as it was not proposed either by textile ministry or Agriculture ministry  when interest  of domestic textile mills are fully protected hence the truth behind cotton export flip-flop and the circumstances that forced to take the ill-motivated decision to enforce a fresh ban on the cotton export in the light of the revelation of the union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, observations of the fact finding committee of GOM and the protest by the chief ministers of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh exposed on going massive corruption in commerce ministry which is till continue even after the huge cry is matter of concern as DGFT even after lifting export ban is not allowing fresh cotton export resulting much needed damage to cotton trade as  cotton prices plummeted to record low in the international market on Thursday having its impact at home the next day. It is officially reported today that a bullish trend in the commodity's prices last year had left this sector harried, which in 2011-12 lobbied for the rates to come down. Exports were banned in March to bring down domestic rates. Last week, when the ban was lifted, it was with strict quantitative restrictions. The brief upswing was again reversed as the traders eventually saw the fine print of the notification, opined president of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) Kishore Tiwari.
“The hostile cotton export policy and frequent flip-flop by DGFT has exposed weakest face UPA Govt. where corruption has powered progressive reforms free trade and open economy promoted by Indian Prime Minister .This has been routine practice in Indian Govt. to bypass PMO and floats fresh restrictions even though it is badly effecting million of dying farmers and traders and even opposition is not raising the voice against these misdeeds that much more irritating ”Tiwari added.
As per media reports today after news restriction implications started showing effects in a week after the ban was supposed to have been lifted, prices of lint (processed cotton) came down by over Rs 700-1000 a tonne touching Rs 34,000 a candy. There was another jolt with rates falling by Rs 1000 in a day to rule in the range of Rs 33,000 to Rs 27,000 a candy in domestic market on Friday. This was impact of the record fall in US cotton futures to 81 cents a pound-- a reduction of 1.49 cents.The impact was not as severe on raw cotton prices that only fell by a couple of hundreds touching Rs 3900 to Rs 3800 a quintal on Friday. However, arrivals from farmers have come down to negligible levels with sowing just a month away. With farmers having already suffered losses due to bearish trend, further worsened by ban on exports, this time it was traders' benefit.

Now media officially admitting that the ultimate gainer is textile sector, say sources in business. Had the ban, or quantitative restrictions, not been there the rates in India would not have fallen as much causing huge losses to more than 7 million cotton farmers in India and this hostile flip-flop in cotton export policy likely to effect in a low sowing expected in coming season .there is urgent need to remove stringent conditions that no exporter could get a permit to ship more than 10,000 bales at a time. As expected it started bringing down the rates, which fell by around Rs.800 a candy from May 4 onwards.
“Vidarbha cotton farmers have been demanding that cotton export should restoration with pre ban conditions so that there interest is protected ” Tiwari urged.
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Thursday, 10 May 2012


Maharashtra CM moved of  against forest official destruction of 70 Kolam Tribal Houses

Nagpur-11th May, 2012
Maharashtra Chief minister has taken serious note of tragic unconstitutional very serious incident under   Forest officials of Central Chanda subdivision destroyed 70 houses of Kolam tribals in Piparguda and Kolamguda villages on Maharashtra-Andhra Pradesh border in Rajura tehsil on Sunday. It is being alleged that they have encroached forest land in compartment No. 126 of Vihirgaon range coming under Central Chanda forest subdivision. These tribals walked a distance of 55km in two days to reach Chandrapur seeking justice for destruction of their houses back in their villages.
Tribal activist group disturbed with media report wrote to CM  and asked him to look into matter and take stern action against erring officer who are responsible for freezing the fundamental rights of Kolam Tribals  who are rare primitive Tribes dying due starvation and malnourishment ,informed  Kishor Tiwari, president of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), Tribal  advocacy group.
“This area is part Dandakarayna Forest of Mahabharat and Kolam  are tribes who are living in these forest till then and being forced to leave these forest and chandrapur incident is piece of iceberg  much atrocities are done  regularly and complete apathy of Govt. is brought Kolam Tribals existence in danger ,we will take up this to higher with NHRC ,ST-SC commission if  administration failed to take long term integrated plan save  Kolam tribe community ,Tiwari added.
Here are  the details of complaint
==================================  
From: Chief Minister office <CM@maharashtra.gov.in>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2012 04:09:21 +0000
To: Adv Vinod Tiwari<vinod6262@yahoo.co.in>
Subject: HOW SUCH DESTRUCTION OF SHELTERS/HUTS OF KOLAM PREMITIV TRIBALs CAN TAKE PLACE,WHEN Hon'ble SC HAS ALREADY HELD RIGHT TO LIFE OF TRIBAL CANNT BE INFRINGED..? : ARE NOT CHANDRAPUR FOREST OFFICIALs CRUSHING HUMAN RIGHTs and FORCING TRIBAL...

This is to acknowledge that the office of Chief Minister of Maharashtra has recieved your email. Thank you !
========================
HOW SUCH DESTRUCTION OF SHELTERS/HUTS OF KOLAM PREMITIV TRIBALs CAN TAKE PLACE,WHEN Hon'ble SC HAS ALREADY HELD RIGHT TO LIFE OF TRIBAL CANNT BE INFRINGED..? :
ARE NOT CHANDRAPUR FOREST OFFICIALs CRUSHING HUMAN RIGHTs and FORCING TRIBAL TO BECOME NAXAL ??
----------------
To,
Hon'ble Chief Minister Sh.Prithviraj Chavan Saheb,
Mantralaya, Mumbai.

Sub:
CHANDRAPUR TRIBALs ARE CRYING:
70 Kolam Tribes Families made Homeless by Forest Deptt....!

HOW SUCH DESTRUCTION OF HUTS OF TRIBALs CAN TAKE PLACE ,
WHEN Hon'ble SC HAS ALREADY HELD RIGHT TO LIFE OF TRIBAL CANNT BE INFRINGED..??
ARE NOT CHANDRAPUR FOREST OFFICIALs CRUSHING HUMAN RIGHTs and FORCING TRIBAL TO BECOME NAXAL ??
----------------
Resp Sh.CM Saheb,

This with ref my earlier telecom with you regarding kolam houses destruction in chandrapur forest division ,With this letter, we humbly call upon
Your immediate kind attention towards a highly shocking & perturbing incident happened in Chandrapur distt of our Maharashtra. Print Media reports now confirmed that  70 poor Tribal Kolam families were made home/shelter less by Forest officials & their century  old small Huts in which they were living are destroyed with there being no any alternate arrangement of shifting is made.
here are details published by National daily
Quote
Kolam tribals walk 55km to get back their homes

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-05-09/nagpur/31641219_1_tribal-women-forest-land-forest-officials

CHANDRAPUR: Forest officials were in a fix on Tuesday after around 70 Kolam tribals, mostly women and children, stormed into chief conservator of forest's (CCF) office and sat at the gate seeking shelter and food. These tribals walked a distance of 55km in two days to reach Chandrapur seeking justice for destruction of their houses back in their villages.
Forest officials of Central Chanda subdivision destroyed 30 houses of Kolam tribals in Piparguda and Kolamguda villages on Maharashtra-Andhra Pradesh border in Rajura tehsil on Sunday. It is being alleged that they have encroached forest land in compartment No. 126 of Vihirgaon range coming under Central Chanda forest subdivision.
Earlier these tribals lived at Dongargaon irrigation project site. As their lands were taken for the reservoir, they were removed. As their settlement was on encroached land no compensation was paid to them. The Kolams then moved to forest land near Kostala village on the state border. But, this time forest department razed their houses.

A total of 19 families from Piparguda and 11 families from Kolamguda were left shelterless after demolition drive carried out jointly by forest and police department. Social organization Shramik Elgar took up the issue and began a long march to Chandrapur. Forest officials however, had deployed huge police posse equipped with riot control squad at CCF office to thwart any untoward situation.

After the protesters reached CCF office, they tried to barge into the premises but cops thwarted their efforts. The tribal women who had toddlers were forced to sit outside the gate. Protesters led by Shramik Elgar's president Paromita Goswami demanded immediate meeting with CCF BSK Reddy, but he took over an hour to step out and talk to the tribals.

Reddy held talks with Goswami across the locked iron gate. Goswami apprised him of their woes and demanded tribals' land back with compensation against the damage. "Forest officers have committed most inhuman act by razing the houses of destitute tribals and leaving them shelterless in blazing summer heat. They have been living for more than 10 years on the same place and the law entitles them to have right over encroached land. Such blatant use of power and senseless atrocities on tribals has fed Naxalism in the area ," she charged.

Tribals held said that they would not budge from CCF office gate at any cost. "Our homes have been destroyed. We have no bread to eat and no other place to go. We will stay here at forest office and now it is responsibility of forest department to arrange for our food and shelter," said tribal women.

Forest officers offered no help to resolve the problem even as social workers show them voter identity cards proving their residence in area for more than 10 years and collector's orders entitling some of the tribals of the land under Forest Right Act.

Speaking to TOI, Reddy said, "Tribals have claimed that their settlement on encroached forest land is more than 10 years old, however our records show otherwise. Their claims will be verified and decision will be taken as per the law."

It was a pity scene at forest office as over two dozen women, accompanied by equal number of children and handful of tribal men sat exhausted and dehydrated throughout the day. Around a dozen of women among them were breast feeding mothers and they sat in blazing sun with their wailing kids. Forest officers themselves provided masala bhat as lunch to the poor tribals, while ZP president Santosh Kumre had arranged for their dinner. Police officers arranged for water and anti-dehydration drinks for tribal children. The tribals intended to stay put in front of CCF office in the night.
Un-Quote

This all happened on the settled position of Laws that the poor Tribal s Can't be Evicted in a manner forest officials did in Chandrapur...!

Tribal Rights to Life as Guaranteed by Constitution of India, is a Fundamental Right to Live Grace ful Life. Therefore, its fit case of Atrocities caused upon  poor tribals.

We all are literally shocked to understand that Forest officials misusing provisions of deconion Forest Conservation Act, all of sudden, crushed huts of Tribal s and 70 families were thrown out of Shelters.
Poor unorganised tribals all crying for justice but no forest officials had listen their voice.

Sir,Its disturbing....!! More perturbing is the second part of Story that all these Tribal,mostly Kolams Women & small children travelled 70 Kms odd distance by Foot March from Forest to distt HQ at Chandrapur in such scorching heat wave.
The action of Forest officials to make these Tribals Homeless is a classic example of Rude & Heartless Atrocity act, which is in breach & in violation of mandate of Hon'ble apex court-SC that no Tribals can be Evicted unless an alternate arrangement is made for their Shelter & live hood. But in present case, it shows How Fundamental Rights of Tribals are infringed in our prosperous State Like Maharashtra.
Having read this News in Media, our team visited the Spot. We have examined the entire events of this case & reasons to believe that its fit case to strike & highlight on all level to avoid repetition of such painful incident.

PRAYER:

Hence we strongly condemn this & hereby demand immediate Restoration of Tribal s huts with suitable compensation to be paid to each sufferer Tribal family & cost be recovered from the salaries of Forest officials concerned.
Looking to seriousness & gravity, a FIR / Criminal Prosecution be made against all Forest Officials involved or responsible for this act of grave atrocity on tribals.

Need less to mention, If our prayer is not considered, We shall be taking this to Human Rights Commission / Hon'ble Apex Court to high light this case of gross violations of Tribals Right to Life, please note.

We hope you will promptly intervention   and arrange to do the needful in the matter.

Hence  this Representation.

Thanking you,

Adv.Vinod Tiwari,
General Secretary,
Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti,


‘We are also taking up matter with forest secretary Pravin Pardesi who is also relief secretary to visit the place and   verify the truth as act of forest officail ,as can not tolerated we will move all the forum  to redress unjust and criminal action against all erring officials is not taken within 8 days” Tiwari added. 



Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Reaping Gold through Cotton, and NewsPrint-P. Sainath

Opinion » Op-Ed

Published: May 10, 2012 00:00 IST | Updated: May 10, 2012 00:16 IST

Reaping gold through cotton, and newsprint

P. Sainath
Picking cotton in a field with a poor yield in Yavatmal in this April 2006 photo.
AFP Picking cotton in a field with a poor yield in Yavatmal in this April 2006 photo.
The same full page appeared twice in three years, the first time as news, the second time as an advertisement
“Not a single person from the two villages has committed suicide.”
Three and a half years ago, at a time when the controversy over the use of genetically modified seeds was raging across India, a newspaper story painted a heartening picture of the technology's success. “There are no suicides here and people are prospering on agriculture. The switchover from the conventional cotton to Bollgard or Bt Cotton here has led to a social and economic transformation in the villages [of Bhambraja and Antargaon] in the past three-four years.” (Times of India, October 31, 2008).
So heartening was this account that nine months ago, the same story was run again in the same newspaper, word for word. (Times of India, August 28, 2011). Never mind that the villagers themselves had a different story to tell.
“There have been 14 suicides in our village,” a crowd of agitated farmers in Bhambraja told shocked members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture in March this year. “Most of them after Bt came here.” The Hindu was able to verify nine that had occurred between 2003 and 2009. Activist groups count five more since then. All after 2002, the year the TOI story says farmers here switched to Bt. Prospering on agriculture? The villagers told the visibly shaken MPs: “Sir, lots of land is lying fallow. Many have lost faith in farming.” Some have shifted to soybean where “at least the losses are less.”
Over a hundred people, including landed farmers, have migrated from this ‘model farming village' showcasing Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech's Bt Cotton. “Many more will leave because agriculture is dying,” Suresh Ramdas Bhondre had predicted during our first visit to Bhambraja last September.
The 2008 full-page panegyric in the TOI on Monsanto's Bt Cotton rose from the dead soon after the government failed to introduce the Biotech Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill in Parliament in August 2011. The failure to table the Bill — crucial to the future profits of the agri-biotech industry — sparked frenzied lobbying to have it brought in soon. The full-page, titled Reaping Gold through Bt Cotton on August 28 was followed by a flurry of advertisements from Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech (India) Ltd., in the TOI (and some other papers), starting the very next day. These appeared on August 29, 30, 31, September 1 and 3. The Bill finally wasn't introduced either in the monsoon or winter session — though listed for business in both — with Parliament bogged down in other issues. Somebody did reap gold, though, with newsprint if not with Bt Cotton.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture appeared unimpressed by the ad barrage, which also seemed timed for the committee's deliberations on allowing genetically modified food crops. Disturbed by reports of mounting farm suicides and acute distress in Vidarbha, committee members, who belong to different parties, decided to visit the region.
Bhambraja, touted as a model for Mahyco-Monsanto's miracle Bt, was an obvious destination for the committee headed by veteran parliamentarian Basudeb Acharia. Another was Maregaon-Soneburdi. But the MPs struck no gold in either village. Only distress arising from the miracle's collapse and a raft of other, government failures.
The issues (and the claims made by the TOI in its stories) have come alive yet again with the debate sparked off by the completion of 10 years of Bt cotton in India in 2012. The “Reaping Gold through Bt Cotton” that appeared on August 28 last year, presented itself as “A consumer connect initiative.” In other words, a paid-for advertisement. The bylines, however, were those of professional reporters and photographers of the Times of India. More oddly, the story-turned-ad had already appeared, word-for-word, in the Times of India, Nagpur on October 31, 2008. The repetition was noticed and ridiculed by critics. The August 28, 2011 version itself acknowledged this unedited ‘reprint' lightly. What appeared in 2008, though, was not marked as an advertisement. What both versions do acknowledge is: “The trip to Yavatmal was arranged by Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech.”
The company refers to the 2008 feature as “a full-page news report” filed by the TOI. “The 2008 coverage was a result of the media visit and was based on the editorial discretion of the journalists involved. We only arranged transport to-and-from the fields,” a Mahyco Monsanto Biotech India spokesperson told The Hindu last week. “The 2011 report was an unedited reprint of the 2008 coverage as a marketing feature.” The 2008 “full-page news report” appeared in the Nagpur edition. The 2011 “marketing feature” appeared in multiple editions (which you can click to online under ‘special reports') but not in Nagpur, where it would surely have caused astonishment.
So the same full-page appeared twice in three years, the first time as news, the second time as an advertisement. The first time done by the staff reporter and photographer of a newspaper. The second time exhumed by the advertising department. The first time as a story trip ‘arranged by Mahyco-Monsanto.' The second time as an advertisement arranged by Mahyco-Monsanto. The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.
The company spokesperson claimed high standards of transparency in that “…we insisted that the publication add the source and dateline as follows: ‘This is a reprint of a story from the Times of India, Nagpur edition, October 31, 2008.' But the spokesperson's e-mail reply to The Hindu's questions is silent on the timing of the advertisements. “In 2011, we conducted a communications initiative for a limited duration aimed at raising awareness on the role of cotton seeds and plant biotechnologies in agriculture.” Though The Hindu raised the query, there is no mention of why the ads were run during the Parliament session when the BRAI Bill was to have come up, but didn't.
But there's more. Some of the glowing photographs accompanying the TOI coverage of the Bt miracle were not taken in Bhambraja or Antargaon, villagers allege. “This picture is not from Bhambraja, though the people in it are” says farmer Babanrao Gawande from that village.
Phantom miracle
The Times of India story had a champion educated farmer in Nandu Raut who is also an LIC agent. His earnings shot up with the Bt miracle. “I made about Rs.2 lakhs the previous year,” Nandu Raut told me last September. “About Rs.1.6 lakh came from the LIC policies I sold.” In short, he earned from selling LIC policies four times what he earned from farming. He has seven and a half acres and a four-member family.
But the TOI story has him earning “Rs.20,000 more per acre (emphasis added) due to savings in pesticide.” Since he grew cotton on four acres, that was a “saving” of Rs. 80,000 “on pesticide.” Quite a feat. As many in Bhambraja say angrily: “Show us one farmer here earning Rs.20,000 per acre at all, let alone that much more per acre.” A data sheet from a village-wide survey signed by Mr. Raut (in The Hindu's possession) also tells a very different story on his earnings.
The ridicule that Bhambraja and Maregaon farmers pour on the Bt ‘miracle' gains credence from the Union Agriculture Minister's figures. “Vidarbha produces about 1.2 quintals [cotton lint] per hectare on average,” Sharad Pawar told Parliament on December 19, 2011. That is a shockingly low figure. Twice that figure would still be low. The farmer sells his crop as raw cotton. One-hundred kg of raw cotton gives 35 kg of lint and 65 kg of cotton seed (of which up to two kg is lost in ginning). And Mr. Pawar's figure translates to just 3.5 quintals of raw cotton per hectare. Or merely 1.4 quintals per acre. Mr. Pawar also assumed farmers were getting a high price of Rs.4,200 per quintal. He conceded that this was close to “the cost of cultivation… and that is why I think such a serious situation is developing there.” If Mr. Pawar's figure was right, it means Nandu Raut's gross income could not have exceeded Rs.5,900 per acre. Deduct his input costs — of which 1.5 packets of seed alone accounts for around Rs.1,400 — and he's left with almost nothing. Yet, the TOI has him earning “Rs.20,000 more per acre.”
Asked if they stood by these extraordinary claims, the Mahyco-Monsanto spokesperson said, “We stand by the quotes of our MMB India colleague, as published in the news report.” Ironically, that single-paragraph quote, in the full-page-news story-turned-ad, makes no mention of the Rs.20,000-plus per acre earnings or any other figure. It merely speaks of Bt creating “increased income of cotton growers…” and of growth in Bt acreage. It does not mention per acre yields. And says nothing about zero suicides in the two villages. So the company carefully avoids direct endorsement of the TOI's claims, but uses them in a marketing feature where they are the main points.
The MMB spokesperson's position on these claims is that “the journalists spoke directly with farmers on their personal experiences during the visits, resulting in various news reports, including the farmer quotes.”
The born-again story-turned-ad also has Nandu Raut reaping yields of “about 20 quintals per acre with Bollgard II,” nearly 14 times the Agriculture Minister's average of 1.4 quintals per acre. Mr. Pawar felt that Vidarbha's rainfed irrigation led to low yields, as cotton needs “two to three waterings.” He was silent on why Maharashtra, ruled by an NCP-Congress alliance, promotes Bt Cotton in almost entirely rainfed regions. The Maharashtra State Seed Corporation (Mahabeej) distributes the very seeds the State's Agriculture Commissioner found to be unsuited for rainfed regions seven years ago. Going by the TOI, Nandu is rolling in cash. Going by the Minister, he barely stays afloat.
Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech's ad barrage the same week in 2011 drew other fire. Following a complaint, one of the ads (also appearing in another Delhi newspaper) claiming huge monetary benefits to Indian farmers landed before the Advertising Standards Council of India. ASCI “concluded that the claims made in the advertisement and cited in the complaint, were not substantiated.” The MMB spokesperson said the company “took cognizance of the points made by ASCI and revised the advertisement promptly…. ASCI has, on record, acknowledged MMB India's modification of the advertisement…”
We met Nandu again as the Standing Committee MPs left his village in March. “If you ask me today,” he said, “I would say don't use Bt here, in unirrigated places like this. Things are now bad.” He had not raised a word during the meeting with the MPs, saying he had arrived too late to do so.
“We have thrown away the moneylender. No one needs him anymore,” The Times of India news report-turned-ad quotes farmer Mangoo Chavan as saying. That's in Antargaon, the other village the newspaper found to be basking in Bt-induced prosperity. A study of the 365 farm households in Bhambraja and the nearly 150 in Antargaon by the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) shows otherwise. “Almost all farmers with bank accounts are in critical default and 60 per cent of farmers are also in debt to private moneylenders,” says VJAS chief Kishor Tiwari.
The Maharashtra government tried hard to divert the MPs away from the ‘model village' of Bhambraja (and Maregaon) to places where the government felt in control. However, Committee Chairperson Basudeb Acharia and his colleagues stood firm. Encouraged by the MPs visit, people in both places spoke their minds and hearts. Maharashtra's record of over 50,000 farm suicides between 1995 and 2010 is the worst in the country as the data of the National Crime Records Bureau show. And Vidarbha has long led the State in such deaths. Yet, the farmers also spoke of vast, policy-linked issues driving agrarian distress here.
None of the farmers reduced the issue of the suicides or the crisis to being only the outcome of Bt Cotton. But they punctured many myths about its miracles, costs and ‘savings.' Some of their comments came as news to the MPs. And not as paid news or a marketing feature, either.