Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Farm widows, farmers to agitate for separate Vidarbha state-Press Trust of India


Farm widows, farmers to agitate for separate Vidarbha state

Hundreds of farm widows and hail hit farmers in the district are likely to stage protest on Maharashtra Day to demand separate statehood to Vidarbha.

"Five million farmers recently hit by hailstorm and massive rain, enduring crop damage worth more than Rs 10 crore have been seeking government's help," Vidarbha Jan Andolan president Samit Kishore Tiwari said.

In spite of the Maharashtra government declaring Rs 4,000 crore as relief in March this year and Rs 3000 crore announced as relief last year, farmers have continued to commit suicide.

The government is apathetic towards more than 12,000 farm widows of cotton farmers who committed suicide since 2005, forcing them to starve, since their basic demands of food and family security pension have not been met, he said.

Tiwari said that Vidarbha region's agrarian crisis is the result of 54 years of apathy by the Maharashtra government which has treated it as its "colony" and continued to loot its abundant natural resources.

He said that the Maharashtra government has denied food security, healthcare and employment opportunities to more than 5 million farmers and 6 million tribals, which amounts to a complete betrayal of all promises made to the people when Maharashtra state was formed on May 1, 1960.

People want a complete reassessment of the situation and separate statehood for the Vidarbha region from the yoke of Maharashtra, in order to stop farmers and tribals from committing suicide, he said.

Meanwhile, the All India Forward Bloc led by former MP Jambhuwantrao Dhote has declared Maharashtra day as 'Black Day' and announced plans to protest at Netaji Bhuvan here on May 1 for separate statehood to the Vidarbha region.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Elections 2014: Order repoll in all 48 Maharashtra seats, says VJAS -Reports By IANS

Elections 2014: Order repoll in all 48 Maharashtra seats, says  VJAS

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A prominent NGO Friday demanded repoll in all the 48 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra following an apology tendered by Election Commissioner H.S. Brahma and his admitting to lapses leading to deletion or diversion of names of over six million voters in the state.
Order repoll in all 48 Maharashtra seatsPhoto: AFP
"Merely apologizing is not sufficient. It is like rubbing salt on the wounds of the six million-plus citizens who were denied their fundamental right to vote. The EC must compensate by ordering a complete repolling in the 48 Lok Sabha seats and sacking all the electoral officials concerned here, including Chief Electoral Officer Nitin Gadre," an agitated Kishore Tiwari, chief of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, told IANS.
"This is a lapse of monumental magnitude... The blunders by the state election department can have a major impact on the outcome of the 2014 elections," Tiwari said.
IANS had on April 19 first highlighted the issue of the six million-plus voters' names, which sparked off a furore among voters, candidates, political parties and officials.
Reacting to the EC apology, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said: "The state government would take up the issue with the Chief Election Commissioner (V.S. Sampath)."
Earlier, Chavan had indirectly blamed the people for not checking voters' list well in advance to ensure if their names were there.
"... People check on their flight and train ticket status, they could have easily checked the voters' lists," Chavan commented, obviously referring to some prominent people like HDFC's Deepak Parekh, adman Bharat Dabholkar, actors Amol Palekar and Atul Kulkarni and lakhs of others whose names were missing from the electoral rolls.
Brahma assured the missing names would be included before the Maharashtra assembly elections later this year.
Tiwari said if Brahma had considered the issue highlighted April 19 - well before the polls - then at least two million voters would have got the opportunity to vote.
State Bharatiya Janata Party chief Devendra Fadnavis, reacting to the EC apology, told a private news channel there were "gross irregularities" in the working of the election officials which led to the fracas.
"There have been reports that the private BPOs entrusted with the work of electoral rolls revision, are charging money for selective deletions which can benefit a particular political party," Fadnavis said, adding he has complained several times to the EC authorities.
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