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Dying farmers, dying agriculture

Monday, March 12, 2018

Demanding a complete loan waiver and implementation of recommendations, hundreds of protesting farmers entered Mumbai for an agitation in front of the Vidhan Bhavan and it is cause for concern. Several political parties had expressed solidarity with the farmers. The morcha coincides with the budget session of the Maharashtra legislature. The demands of farmers include complete loan waivers, implementation of recommendations of the Dr. MS Swaminathan Commission, adequate compensation for all farmers whose crops were destroyed by the pink bollworm, pension to poor farmers and implementation of Forest Right Act. The position of state farmers in Maharashtra is going from bad to worse. This time, it is unseasonal rains and hail storm. Famine is the major reason quoted for farmers' woes in the debt-ridden areas of Maharashtra. Thus, the number of suicides by the debt-ridden farmers in Maharashtra has touched a new high. There are no concrete steps taken to improve the situation by the State Government as per the opposition parties. Most of the deaths are taking place in the dry lands, and there is absolutely no stopping of such cruel deaths. The farmers distress is bound to continue so long as the general approach to agriculture management remains flawed. A team of Bankers can camp areas like Vidharbha, Yavatmal, Amaravathi, Akola, Wardha and Washim to give confidence to the farmers living in suicide-prone areas. Nationalisation of rivers could be a solution to prevent famine and solve irrigation problems in these barren lands. It is a now or never situation. That is my clarion call.
— C.K. Subramaniam, Sanpada

Farmers' protest against the BJP government is totally justified as the Fadnavis government is anti-farmer. Majority of the farmers in the state are struggling for survival and many of them have committed suicides and are in serious trouble. I strongly feel that the Devendra Fadnavis BJP-led government has made a mess of the state and its farmers and have rendered the state backward and bankrupt. The urgent need of the hour is that people of the state must support the farmers and teach the BJP a very strong lesson by rejecting them and overthrowing them from the power for being anti-farmer and an anti-people government and wipe them out from the political map of the state as well as country. It is high time the farmers protest must be supported by people of the state, make it successful and tremendous pressure must be imposed on the inefficient Fadnavis government to implement farmers policies with immediate effect. It is high time for the government to ensure safety of the the thousands of farmers who have come to Mumbai. Any outward incident will be the responsibility of the Fadnavis government for which people will not spare them.
— Bhagwan Thadani, Mumbai

The negative growth of the farm sector in Maharashtra is due to various reasons. The Marathwada region is facing drought conditions. Recent hailstorm in Maharashtra added fuel to the fire in negative growth in this region. Climate changes could trim agricultural incomes in India by 15 per cent to 25 per cent with unirrigated lands being harder hit by rising temperatures and declines in rainfall. Thus agricultural growth is hampered throughout India. The water meant for irrigation purpose is diverted to sugar factories, thus preventing the growth of the agricultural sector vastly. The overall economic stability with the farm sector is therefore, indirectly proportional due to the agricultural and allied activities has not shown a drastic recovery. Waiver of bank loans and additional funding in the agricultural sector does not yield much desired results in recent times. There is no other go but to admit that the Maharashtra State is lagging behind on many fronts in farm sector growth.
— Krishnan Ramani, Bhandup

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