(January to December, 2007) Compiled By K. SAMU Human Rights Documentation, Indian Social Institute, Lodi Road, New Delhi, India Two of family commit suicide after officials auction their land (20) LUCKNOW: : Two members of a family committed suicide after revenue department officials wrongly auctioned eight bighas of their agricultural land for non-payment of a loan. Kamlesh Singh, son of Sharda Singh, and his cousin brother Suneel committed suicide in the first week of December in Kaimi Bhood village, Lakhimpur district. Sharda Singh had taken loan of Rs 43,000 in 2002 from a nationalised bank for starting a dairy business. He returned Rs 19,800 in March and Rs 10,000 in July 2007. Singh promised the bank he would pay the balance in six months. But on October 23, his land was auctioned without any notice. Reportedly, revenue department officials did not even visit the village, which is mandatory for the auction. The village head Rakesh Singh said no auction actually took place but the land was shown as auctioned to Jagdish Singh, a farmer. Witnesses, whose signatures are shown on auction papers, deny that they were present. (Indian Express 2/1/08) Farmers’ issues: UNPA keen on Left support (20) NEW DELHI: Ahead of the launch of a series of protest meetings across the country on the government’s “apathetic” attitude towards the plight of farmers, the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) on Monday met the Left party leaders in the hope of enlisting their support. Though the UNPA leaders said their meetings with Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat and his CPI counterpart A.B. Bardhan were “routine courtesy calls,” alliance convener N. Chandrababu Naidu did admit that they were looking for the Left parties’ support in the effort to mobilise opinion against the government on issues relating to the agriculture sector. Briefing mediapersons, the UNPA convener said large meetings were being planned in Aurangabad, Mumbai, Jharkhand and Haryana before the next session of Parliament. Thereafter, the UNPA will hold a “massive dharna” in here during the pre-recess budget session of Parliament. The UNPA also criticised the government for imposing the President’s rule in Nagaland and said it was done with an eye on rigging the upcoming elections. “All Raj Bhavans are being turned into Gandhi Bhavans,” Mr. Naidu said. UNPA chairman Mulayam Singh and alliance spokesman Amar Singh focussed on Uttar Pradesh and how Chief Minister Mayawati was using the bogey of development to force farmers to hand over fertile land to contractors she favoured. The Samajwadi Party would oppose the Noida-Ballia Ganga Expressway Project tooth and nail since farmers were being pushed out. Prior to addressing the press conference, the UNPA leaders met the Chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices, T. Haque, and urged him to liberally fix the minimum support price for various crops in view of the precarious situation facing the farm sector. Though the entire UNPA leadership was present at the press conference, they fielded no political questions. As mediapersons sought to ask the former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader, Farooq Abdullah, whether he had joined the UNPA, and draw a comment from the alliance on reports of some of its partners allegedly hobnobbing with the Bharatiya Janata Party, Mr. Amar Singh quickly declared the press conference closed. (The Hindu 8/1/08) Vidarbha farmers still in the red (20) YAVATMAL (Maharashtra): As the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena set out to woo voters in suicide-hit Vidarbha, the farmers there continue to battle for survival even after the initial promise of the Prime Minister’s package. BJP president Rajnath Singh completed a whirlwind two-day yatra on Friday in Vidarbha while the Shiv Sena held a farmers’ rally at Shegaon on Saturday. In Bothbodan village, about 12 km from here, 18 farmers committed suicide in the last 18 months, according to Anup Chavan, former sarpanch. It had the highest number of suicides for

any village in the area, he added and 11 of them followed crop failure. There were 400 families, most of them belonging to the Banjara community. The entire village was in debt. “All of us are defaulters,” said Kashinath Rathod. The Prime Minister’s package benefited 11 persons in the village. Tukaram Rathod, who owned five acres, said: “I was among those selected and the government gave me a diesel pump. I have a well so I thought the pump would help me.” However, he ended up paying Rs. 4,000 as a “contribution” to the cost of the pump. “It did not work even once. I started it and the whole thing burnt out,” said a dejected Tukaram. Under the package, he said he was to be given a diesel pump worth Rs. 10,000 and pipes worth Rs. 5,000. Tukaram took a loan to contribute for the pump. “The official said he would not give me the pump if I did not pay Rs. 4,000,” he said. His woes did not end there. In 2007, he bought 32 bags of Bt cotton seeds on loan from the Krishi Kendra at Kini, a nearby village. Not a single seed germinated, he said. “The seeds cost Rs. 17,000 but I had no luck. I planted it on 15 acres which I took on rent but I got no crop,” he said. He later learnt these were fake seeds. Now the Krishi Kendra, a private seeds and fertilizer shop, was harassing him for money everyday. “I told them if I am alive, I will repay you the amount for seeds and fertilizers,” said Tukaram. “I am on the brink of committing suicide. I have a debt of Rs. 80,000 now and I don’t know how to repay it, specially after my entire crop failed in 2007. The Kendra charges an interest of 5 per cent per month.” In 2006, Tukaram’s 60-year-old mother Parvati killed herself. She was one of the three women from Bothbodan who committed suicide. “We got no compensation as the land was not in her name. So many people came from Delhi even and promised me some money but nothing happened,” said Tukaram. Parvati took loans to get her two daughters married and for her crop but she could not repay them in time. ……. (The Hindu 13/1/08) Suicides down 15 pc in Vidarbha cotton belt (20) NAGPUR, JANUARY 16: The six cotton-producing districts of Vidarbha begin the New Year with the good news that suicides by farmers are now down by 15 per cent. From a record 1,448 in 2006, the number came down to 1,230 in 2007, according to the official state government website. The Indian Express had reported in September that the suicide rate was dropping slowly, thanks to a good monsoon and state and central government packages worth Rs 4,800 crore. Markets provided further relief in the latter half of the year, with cotton being purchased at Rs 2,300 per quintal and soyabean fetching a record Rs 2,000 per quintal. The corresponding prices last year were Rs 2,100 and Rs 1,300. In the crucial post-July period, the suicide figures have dropped even more substantially — by 21 per cent — from 797 in 2006 to 628 last year. This period is crucial as all major factors behind suicides — lack of funds for farm operations, bad monsoon, access to pesticides and market trends — come into play then. Trends over the past few years have shown the suicide tally is always divided lopsided between the two halves of the year. In 2004, it was 94 and 314 (total 411), in 2005, 128 and 303 (total 431), and in 2006 651 and 797, respectively. In 2007, the gap narrowed significantly, with 602 suicides before July and 628 in the remaining five months. What is also interesting is that among these suicides, only 233 have been attributed to agrarian causes (heavy loans, crop damage, harassment for loan recovery etc). Enquiries in 163 of the 1,230 suicides are still pending. In 2006, 577 of the 1,448 suicides were judged as agrarian. Thus, according to the Government, agrarian suicides came down from 40 per cent of the total in 2006 to 21 per cent last year. The Government probes all suicides to decide which are due to agrarian reasons. Among the six districts covered, Buldana registered a significant slump in suicide tally from 306 in 2006 to 186 in 2007. In Akola, the number come down from 174 to 125. But Yavatmal remains at the top with 359 suicides in 2007, just one less than the 2006 tally. Corresponding figures for Amravati, Wardha and Washim are 269-260, 154-128 and 185-173, respectively. (Indian Express 17/1/08) Massive loan waiver scheme for farmers on the anvil (20) NEW DELHI: The Union government is set to unveil a debt relief package for farmers, according to sources in the Agriculture Ministry. The scheme envisages writing off the unpaid loans of the small and marginal farmers and a big relief for the big farmers over four years. An estimated 30 million farmers had gone out of the institutional credit system due to defaults. On Monday, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram agreed on the broad contours of the policy, which will be finalised at the Prime Minister’s level. “We had a meeting. We

discussed the package. It involves a huge investment but in principle we have agreed. Now we will meet the Prime Minister,” Mr. Pawar told The Hindu here. It will be decided at the Prime Minister’s level whether the funds needed should be raised by levying a “farmers’ rehabilitation cess or surcharge” or through a budgetary provision by diverting resources. The total outgo over four years is expected to be about Rs. 70,000 crore. The Agriculture Ministry has proposed imposition of a one per cent cess on direct taxes and two per cent on indirect taxes. This is expected to yield about Rs. 8,500 crore per annum. A credit risk fund, called the National Agriculture Stabilisation Fund, will be set up to cover the risk of future default due to reasons beyond the farmers’ control. Under the package to be announced in the budget proposals, the Ministry has proposed the waiver of the entire overdues from the small and marginal farmers owning land up to two hectares, entailing an outgo of about Rs. 25,000 crore. Seventy per cent of the farmers who had availed themselves of loans come under this category. For the rest, there will be a one-time settlement (OTS) scheme. It will be shared among the government, farmers and banks over four years. Those given debt relief will be eligible for fresh credit. It is estimated that the total overdue in the case of direct agriculture advances will be to the tune of Rs. 91,200 crore. Of this, the Non-Performing Assets is estimated at Rs. 31,200 crore, the overdue above one year at about Rs. 30,000 crore and the less-than-one-year overdue at Rs. 30,000 crore. The Ministry has also proposed that those paying back their loans regularly should be given a three per cent interest subvention, such as bringing down the rate of interest from seven to four per cent. This will be in line with the recommendation of the National Commission on Farmers. (The Hindu 23/1/08) 17,060 farm suicides in one year (20) Mumbai: Farm suicides in Maharashtra rose dramatically in 2006, more than in any other part of the country. The State saw 4,453 farmers’ suicides that year, over a quarter of the all-India total of 17,060, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in its report Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India, 2006. That is the worst figure recorded ‘in any year for any State’ since the NCRB first began logging farm suicides. The previous worst — 4,147 in 2004 — was also in Maharashtra. It has seen ‘36,428 farmers’ suicides’ since 1995, ‘in official count.’ ‘2006 is the latest year for which data are available.’ The suicides in Maharashtra mark an increase of 527 over the 2005 figure. This was four and a half times bigger than that in Andhra Pradesh, the next worst-hit State, which saw a rise of 117 farm suicides over 2005. It was also more than twice the increase of 198 in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh taken together. Worse, it means farmers accounted for half ‘the increase’ in all suicides in Maharashtra in 2006. Significantly, Maharashtra’s upward spike occurred in the year when the relief packages of both the Prime Minister and Chief Minister — worth Rs. 4,825 crore in all — were being implemented in the Vidharbha region, where suicides have been most intense. The NCRB figures show an unrelenting uptrend in what can be termed the ‘SEZ’ or (Farmers) ‘Special Elimination Zone’ States. These States, which account for nearly two-thirds of all farm suicides in the country, include Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh (including Chhattisgarh). As a group, the ‘SEZ’ States saw an increase of 6.2 per cent in such deaths. Among them, Maharashtra (4,453), Andhra Pradesh (2,607) and Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh (2,858) show a sharp upward spike. Karnataka (1,720) reports a decline. So though the all-India numbers for 2006 reflect a very small decline of 61 over the 2005 figure of 17,131, the broad trends of the last decade continue. And the trend of rapidly rising farm suicides, particularly post-2001 in the ‘SEZ’ States, remains unchanged. So the minuscule decline in the figure for the country as a whole marks no break from the dismal decade-long trend. NCRB data record 1,66,304 farmers’ suicides in a decade since 1997. Of these, 78,737 occurred between 1997 and 2001. The next five years — from 2002 to 2006 — proved worse, seeing 87,567 farmers take their own lives. This means that on average, there has been one farmer’s suicide every 30 minutes since 2002. (The Hindu 31/1/08) Now, a farm suicide story from Punjab (20) NEW DELHI: Twelve families, mostly children and widows, of indebted farmers who committed suicide in Punjab, a prosperous agricultural State, are here to knock at the doors of the Centre. On Thursday, the children will be joined by several others here in a solidarity march. They will

wear T-shirts with the message, “Every farmer counts. Every child dreams.” The children had to give up their studies and are struggling to keep the local moneylender at bay. “Nothing can be done for you” is the common refrain they have been hearing from the local administration for years, even as the loans their farmer-fathers took multiply with huge interest. One farmer’s wife burnt herself to death rather than face the ignominy of having the artiya (moneylender) on her doorstep every week. Tears welled up in his eyes as 16-year-old Dharmendra from Chotia village recounted the death of his father, who consumed pesticide. Dharmendra has three siblings and mother to take care of. His father sold off his land and cleared part of the debt. The family still owes Rs. 4 lakh-5 lakh to the local moneylender as well as some relatives. Last year this 10th Class student gave up his studies, though he loves to pursue education, and became a daily wager. “We want karza-maafi [loan waiver],” he said. Paramjeet Kaur, a mother of three children, became a widow at the age of 28. “Unable to face the harassment for return of a loan, my husband consumed spray and took his own life.” Of the three children, the eldest daughter has continued her studies by taking up tailoring. Paramjeet herself is a daily wager and she even does household chores for neighbours. She wants karza-maafi and free education for her children. “Education is free for Dalits, but not for us Jats,” she said. Naresh Khan, 18, lost his mother who doused herself with kerosene and set herself afire. “The loan keeps increasing because of high interest.” Seventy-year-old Chameli’s farmer-son committed suicide not being able to return a loan of Rs. 1.5 lakh. Now Chameli, along with her daughter-in-law, works as a daily wager. “There are so many of us in the same boat; nobody is able to help anyone in Punjab,” she said. Surprisingly, none of them has heard of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. U.S.-based Harpreet Kaur of Sach Productions said activists came upon several families in Sangrur district, where the farmers had committed suicide. “We are highlighting the issue of farmers’ suicide and making a universal statement. These families are humiliated. They feel stressed out and start trembling when the moneylender comes, threatening to take away their land or homes. In our research, we have focussed on mothers and children, especially children because they suffer most.” Harpreet said this was the first time the children and women had come out of Punjab. “We hope our efforts, with the help of local NGOs, Lokraj and Navdanya, can help them get pension and that people will come forward to adopt these families.” On Thursday, the victims of farmers’ indebtedness will meet Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar. They are also trying to seek an appointment with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. (The Hindu 31/1/08) NGOs’ protest march over farmer suicides (20) New Delhi, Jan. 30: Several non-governmental organisations, including Nav Danya, will march in protest against the unabated suicides of farmers across the country and against the failure of governments in checking the trend. The march will start from Mandi House and will end at Krishi Bhavan, where they will sit in protest. A Texas-based NGO in the United States, which is making a documentary on farmer suicides in Punjab, will also participate in the march. Also taking part in the protest march will be the farmer families from Sangrur district of Punjab where cotton farmers have committed suicides after their crops failed. The story of a 12-year-old daughter of a suicide victim, Jasbeer Kaur, is quite pathetic. Her mother abandoned her and two of her younger brothers when her husband Lala Singh took the extreme step after he failed to repay the loan to the village moneylender. His one-acre land failed him when he sowed cotton. Now, the only person left to take care of them is her 80-year-old grandmother. Jasbeer and her brothers are now studying in the local school run by the government with a monthly handout of Rs 1,000 extended by a local non-governmental organisation. In another family, the wife committed suicide after her husband was unable to pay back the loan in time. Sangrur also had a family which had four suicides in less than 10 years. First, Darshan Singh took his life on failure of a crop. Then his younger brother Nacchatar Singh took the extreme step for the same reason in 1995. Again, his younger brother Nika Singh committed suicide in 1998. In another case, the owner of a 10-acre land took his life out of depression. He sold the land after failing to repay the loan for cotton crop and became a landless labourer. This was unbearable for him as he passed through his sold land every day. (Asian Age 31/1/08) Karnataka farmers cook food on National Highway (20)

Amrayati. Her three sons killed themselves about ten years ago. attributes the suicides to “complications caused by the poor economic condition of people”. of the same village. they laid siege to Central and State Government offices and ordered their closure. Two consumed pesticides and the third hung himself. A representative of the farmers’ body from Dialpura. Members of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike. KISHANGARH (MANSA). He puts the toll at 40.promised Rs.” says Nachhatar Kaur. While most of the 106 suicides have taken place in the six dry-land farming districts of Yavatmal. (Pioneer 9/2/07) All that matters here is suicide count (20) DIALPURA. In Dialpura. is still waiting for pension. Khatriwala. pro-Kannada activists staged a semi-naked demonstration on MG Road and also marched 40 goats to highlight the 'failure' of 40 MPs from the State. was our only son. at sixty.8 billion — of the . She attributes the suicides to the debt her family is reeling under.” she says when asked about the amount they owe. if counted from the late ’90s. “I was widowed at the age of 25. Kheera Singh (20). In the only serious note to the agitation on Thursday. Kulwant Singh. Later. Mounting debts have forced a number of people in Kishangarh. jameen bhi jaa sake hai (They said it could lead to imprisonment and even auctioning of land). After returning home. including six on Saturday. Akbarpur Khadial. Bhola Singh claims over 20 suicides were reported in the past decade from his village alone. “Vo bole jail bhi ho sake hai. Dialpura.375 billion meant exclusively for completing the pending irrigation projects in . BKU Ekta (Ugrahan) block president Jugraj Singh said they conducted a survey and found that over ten persons committed suicide in each of the villages of Khadal Kalan. supporters of political parties are busy preparing for the elections.1 billion is a part of the total package of Rs. Tourists from Tamil Nadu. Washim and Wardha in western Vidarbha. adding that her family is being pressured to vote for a particular candidate. Akola.294. In Bangalore. but I am yet to receive any money. marched with 40 goats with placards carrying names of 40 Lok Sabaha and Rajya Sabha MP's from Karnatata. 8 km from Mandya. FEBRUARY 11: In one corner of Kishangarh village. Kishangarh. the nerve-centre of the agitation. also joined in cooking and they too were fed. “Krishan (her 27-year-old son had consumed pesticide) had asked what would happen if they failed to repay an installment. The unabated incidence of suicides are significant in the backdrop of the recent revelation by state finance minister Jayant Patil that the central government has disbursed only a fraction — Rs. just two days away. The promised Rs. Feb. an aged couple sit in mourning. Vidarbha: Farmer suicides cross 100 (20) Nagpur. He was sensitive. The womenfolk set up makeshift ovens on the road divider and began cooking a rice dish in six large vessels for the agitators around noon. And in another. he consumed spray (pesticides). Till date I have not received any pension. But successive governments have turned a blind eye to the problem. the main pro-Kannada forum involved in the agitation.” she says. more than a thousand farmers including women blocked the Mysore-Bangalore highway at Haleboodanoor. students of PES College and Government College in Mandya.” says Tej Kaur.Bangalore : The Cauvery issue took an interesting turn on Thursday with farmers turning the Bangalore-Mysore highway into kitchen by cooking food for agitating farmers near Mandya and blocked the highway. lost one son in late ’90s. husband of sarpanch Ranjit Kaur of Kishangarh village and a former sarpanch himself.24. Dialpura and Khadal Kalan villages to commit suicide. Rangrial and Tahlian in the past decade. “We continue to reel under debt. 11: The number of suicides by debt-ridden farmers in Maharashtra's Vidarbha region has crossed the three-digit mark in the first 40 days of 2007 with 15 deaths reported during the last three days. Bhagwan Kaur. “Pata nahin. one farmer in the rain-fed paddy growing Gondia district in eastern Vidarbha too ended his life on Saturday. A relative. My pension account was opened.” Bhagwan Kaur. They raised slogans against playwright Girish Karnad for supporting the award and burnt his portrait. Buldana.han Singh's relief package of July 2006. The police detained 50 proKannada activists who staged a semi-naked demonstration on MG Road. He had gone to commission agent in Bareta. states it to be over Rs 1 lakh. On the third day of the protest against the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal. boycotted classes and took out processions in the main thoroughfares of the town. who came in two buses on their way to Mysore. “Balbir (30). The government has not helped us.-294. kehri ginti aundi eh. Tej Kaur has a similar story.1 billion in Prime Minister Manmo-.

But their presence is the first indication that India is ready to acknowledge their role in food security. Feb. there was an abundance of spurious seeds and the technology had been adopted without any preparation of the farmers for the complex management practices that were needed. Director of Gene Campaign. the area under irrigation is 0. It is based on interviews with around 500 cotton farmers from Amravati and Yavatmal districts. brought the figure down to 92 last year.200 suicides in the last 20 months have occurred. Despite this. Seed dealers. They promised farmers that they would get between 12 to 15 quintals per acre when the actual production was in the range of three to five quintals per acre.western Vidarbha. consisted of a technology adoption study to look at how Bt cotton was adopted in Vidarbha.126 farmer suicides in 2004-05. While local officials. Almost 98 per cent of more than 1. Dr. "Such economics cannot work. according to government statistics. which had witnessed 1. The average is even more frightening: it works out to six farmers killing themselves every day during that period. The result was that in an area with a history of indebtedness. registered a tremendous increase in suicides by farmers with the toll rising from 577 in 2005 to 1. FEBRUARY 21: A group of tribals from Orissa’s Koraput district seemed a little out of place at a conference in Delhi. encouraged farmers to buy far more fertilizer and pesticide than was needed. Andhra Pradesh.725 per acre. Sahai said that Bt cotton did better in irrigated areas and that it was a mistake to introduce it in an area like Vidarbha. told journalists on Wednesday that despite specific knowledge that Bt cotton would not work in rainfed areas.45 million hectares. (IANS) (Asian Age 12/2/07) Bt cotton has failed in Vidarbha: study (20) MUMBAI: A new study on the introduction of Bt cotton in Vidarbha reveals that it has failed in the region. ……. complete only till November 2006. Suman Sahai. The study reveals that on average. Sahai. 17: Nearly 7.899 farmers had committed suicide till that date. Karnataka. including the cost of the seeds. They also accepted it because the government was actively promoting the technology.000 farmers committed suicide in different parts of the country in just three years. has registered an increase as well from 120 deaths in 2005 to 146 till November last year." she said. which will be ready in four to five weeks. thereby raising their input costs. The . Kerala and Maharashtra. were aware of the failure of Bt cotton. Maharashtra. (The Hindu 16/2/07) 6 Farmer suicides per day (20) New Delhi. reveal that 6. 1. It did not perform well in the region because inputs costs were high. …… (Asian Age 18/2/07) Farmers’ role in food security to be recognized (20) NEW DELHI. while Karnataka's highest of 708 deaths in 2003-04 has been reduced gradually to 44 till November last year. she said." said Dr. the government had introduced it in Vidarbha. At the same time cotton prices came down with the import of Chinese cotton.. in the dry-land farming area in the region 93 per cent of which will not be irrigated even after completion of all the ongoing projects with the support of the Prime Minister's relief fund.843. Currently. according to government statistics alone. 2006. the state agriculture department continued to promote it. no mechanism has been put in place to monitor the progress of implementation of the Prime Minister's special package for the farmers of 31 suicide-prone districts across Andhra Pradesh. according to figures compiled by the state government till October 31. like the Agriculture Commissioner of Amravati. Of the affected states.15 million hectares of the total 3.5 million hectares of cultivable area. The figures. Preliminary data shows that farmers who had adopted Bt cotton had a net lower income than non-Bt cotton farmers. Kerala. the high input costs of Bt cotton had increased indebtedness. which will cover an additional 0. The study had shown that 70 per cent of small farmers had already lost their landholdings as collateral for loans that they could never repay. The study revealed that many farmers adopted Bt cotton because they believed it was a "government seed" and did not know that it was privately produced and marketed. which was singled out by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a special visit. The Gene Campaign study. according to the reply furnished by the Union agriculture ministry to a set of questions posed by this newspaper under the Right to Information Act. farmers who adopted Bt cotton lost Rs. "The role of the government has been irresponsible and damaging.

The government said that there was no base of such agitation and farmers were not supporting it. After registration. staged a massive meeting on the highway near Jaipur on Thursday. Mr Karat said the government should talk to the farmers to redress their problem. For the first time.” said S Nagarajan. Feb. chairman of the PPV&FRA Authority. Former CMP MLA Hetram Beniwal and others were under judicial custody for last few months as they refused to get bail. a farmer/farmers’ groups can submit a claim of benefit sharing in the prescribed form and fee to the authority. improved and selected a variety of both wild and domesticated germplasm while the others moved to modern. Farmers have conserved. The authority will register varieties of these crops based on distinctiveness. began the documentation and registration of varieties of 12 crops from.disturbing traffic on Jaipur-Bikaner high way. ……. the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPV&FRA).Koraput tribals have been cultivating rice and have stuck to traditional varieties for generations. such as better adaptability droughts and floods. They were stopped from entering Jaipur by the police. The farmers.’’ The BJP govenment .(Indian Express 22/2/07 Farmers stage massive meet on highway (20) Jaipur. The farmers body announced to launch a Jail Bharo movement from March 7 through out the state.20 Km from state capital of Jaipur. demanding more canal water to irrigate their crops. Communist Leaders Prakash Karat and Atul Anjan addressed the farmers and criticised the BJP government.started moving towards Jaipur on February 18 with a Kisan Chetna Rath Yatra. But the state government said it was providing the required quantum of water to the farmers. The police put barricades to stop the marching farmers at Bandi river bridge .the CPI leader said. When a trait is used from this germplasm to further develop new varieties. if his material is used in the development of the variety. we will not hesitate to go any extent to protest against BJP govenment’s repressive polices. uniformity and stability.CPI leader Atul Anjan said the BJP government was functioning in dictatorial manner. Talking to media persons. farmers will get the benefit. Mr Anjan said. The Raje government had siege people’s right to raise voice. The farmers and BJP government have been at logger heads for last three years on the issue of canal water. high yielding varieties. A heavy deployment of police force prevented farmers entering Jaipur to lay an indefinite siege to the pink city. The farmers demanding 58 per cent of water from Indira Gandhi Canal. The farmers claimed that the share of water was fixed when the government signed an agreement with the farmers during the agitation. “Everyone else has become richer by using these germplasm. the country is starting a system by which they will recognise and register these varieties. A crowd of Over 8. It’s the turn of the farmer now to gain from this. set up in November 2005. Many of these landraces have rare and economically resistant genes. led by a CPM affiliated union. Germplasm from their seeds was used by researchers to develop more than 20 popular varieties of popularly-grown rice. Starting on Monday. 22: Agitating farmers in North Rajsthan.000 farmers staged a dharna near the river. The farmers given a call to laid a siege to the pink city of Jaipur if their issue was not resolved.

claimed on Saturday. (Asian Age 23/2/07) In Maharashtra. These included one each from Akola. the farmer who belongs to Hirapur village in AnjangaonSurji tehsil of this district. An MSEDCL spokesman said. attempted to end his life after hearing about the suicide of another whose "illegal" power connection had been snapped. a resident of Hirapur village. 24: Three more farmers have committed suicide in the last 24 hours in Vidarbha. Mate had consumed poison inside the office of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) on Friday after company officials disconnected what they described as an "illegal connection" on his field. Prafulla claimed his father was asked to cough up Rs 20. a non-governmental organisation working among farmers in the region. Ramrao Tulshiram Mate (48). was rushed to a hospital here. However. however. MSEDCL Managing Director Ajay Bhushan Pande has suspended Rajput and ordered an independent inquiry by one of the executive directors of the company. Amravati and Washim districts. amounted to power theft. killed himself by consuming insecticide (Monocrotofos) at around 11. A section of the media. however. the VJAS added. Raut's wife Shakuntala was told that her husband had died. MSEDCL said that Mate had illegally shifted the original 3HP motor connection to the 7. he had not. On February 9. Shakuntala. He allegedly took the step after local MSEDCL officials cut off power supply to his borewell. which they said had been drawn illegally. reported that both Raut and his wife had died. The NGO gave their names as Devidas Umarkar of Akola district. Shifting of a power connection . farmer ends life outside distcom (20) NAGPUR. The condition of Raut and his wife was stated to be critical as both are on ventilators. Mate. but to no avail. Mate came again and Rajput refused to entertain his request. The farmer. a crowd of around 400 people gathered in front of the MSEDCL office. didn’t budge. Mate’s relatives and villagers refused to handover the body for a post-mortem till action was initiated against MSEDCL officials. his rabi crops of wheat and corn were drying due to lack of water. she also consumed insecticide in an attempt to end her life. He reportedly kept frequenting the Bhandaraj office for the past fortnight. consumed poison on Saturday morning after hearing the death of Ramrao Mate on Friday. On Friday.000 from Maharashtra Bank in October last year. His wife attempted suicide when she was told erroneously that her husband had died. Mate later died at a hospital here. He was rushed to a hospital here after he consumed an insecticide. Feb. Hanumangarh and Bikaner districts witnessed violent farmers movement in past three years. Rajput. Another farmer and his wife are in a critical condition in Amravati after both of them attempted suicide separately in their village by consuming poison on Saturday. which as per the New Electricity Act of 2003. Mr Tiwari claimed. Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS). Ganganagar. convenor of the VJAS. (Indian Express 24/2/07) 3 more farmers commit suicide (20) Amravati. That. “My father had tried to plead with the officials that this was a routine practice in the area and that he wasn’t the only one to do so. . Later in the day. after his open well dried up. On January 23. who had four acres of land at Chinchone village.000 bribe to stop the impending disconnection. issuing a warning that the responsibility for the consequences will rest with the officials. He said. FEBRUARY 23: A farmer committed suicide outside the office of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) in Amravati district. In a fit of rage. demanding registration of offence against the officials under Section 306 of the IPC. was illegal. Vasant Khandar of Amravati and Ramrao Ingale of Washim. He had then connected the power supply originally meant for the well pump to the borewell. Later. Mate's power supply was disconnected on January 23 as he had shifted the supply from an open well in his field to a bore-well without informing the company and was also drawing more load than sanctioned. according to MSEDCL. the officials eventually disconnected the power supply. had dug a borewell after taking a loan of Rs 50. says CMP MLA Amra Ram. when.According to Kishore Tiwari.30 am after Junior Engineer Dharmendra Rajput refused to the restore power connection to his borewell. too. Distressed.” said Mate’s son Prafulla.unleasehed repression and they were beaten up by police. a harassed Mate faxed a request against the power cut to Chief Minister and Power Minister. he consumed insecticide catching the officials offguard.5 HP borewell motor. in fact. on Friday. Pandurang Sitaram Raut.

watershed development works have been undertaken at vantage points. a nursery has been started and a shed has been erected to provide vocational jobs and training for the youth of the area. eight farm ponds have been built in fields of cotton farmers from the village. a hospital with ECG and X-ray facilities has been put in place to serve at least 15 nearby villages. the spokesman said. After Baba left Anandwan to join the Narmada agitation. ZARI (YAVATMAL): JOY isn’t a word used frequently in Vidarbha. In Punjab. Vikas is creating an air of expectancy and optimism. It took him two months to set up his makeshift camp on a rocky upland leased to him by the government. A few bullock-carts. But now. “We have started working simultaneously on all crucial fronts with a broad-spectrum. The farmers’ problems in rural India are apparently far more profound and diverse than expected. who have been serving tribals in the catchment area of Maharashtra. he decided to set up base in the region’s suicide capital . a check-dam is almost ready. “States where poverty is negligible. We will take the farmers in the region to Anandwan to train them in growing different crops in a profitable way. Vidarbha’s farmers are learning to turn around crisis to opportunity. Farm crisis is compounded by health and unemployment problems. wanting to commit suicide?” Which is why Vikas calls his Mulgavan project the Centre for Social Action. and the committee feels that to rekindle their “confidence” in farming. and hence action was initiated. And their proportion is .” says his father. We will make use of government schemes too.Yavatmal. We plan to train the farmers here in farm techniques that have worked wonders in Anandwan. marginal holdings. holistic approach. report in May (20) NEW DELHI.without permission was treated as "theft" as per the provisions in the new law. income poverty is absent but there’s a different type of poverty. the panel headed by Dr R Radhakrishnan. “Ours must be the first model where the disabled are training the able-bodied. The Anandwan Brigade has completed works worth Rs 40 lakh within two months. indebtedness is increasingly a social phenomenon — 80 per cent of the indebted households belong to Scheduled Castes and have small. A model house is already under construction in the village. So far. Vikas does not wear shorts but that is where the difference ends. We are taking care of both. tricycles and other implements are the first products of training. the committee looking at ways to reduce the problem of rural indebtedness is unlikely to submit its report before the Budget.” says Vikas. Vikas was witness to his father’s “land army” of leprosy patients and the physically challenged creating Anandwan but a few months ago. the Director of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research. FEBRUARY 26: Set up at the behest of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after his visit to Vidarbha last year in the wake of farmers’ suicides. “If the physically-challenged can create this marvel. Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh in Gadchiroli. roads have been laid. like the Gharkul (housing) scheme and will build houses for the villagers. “While most appear to spread pessimism. In Punjab. Now. Committee sources told The Indian Express that the report is likely to be ready only by May. whom I call welfareaddicts. This time though. found that farmers’ indebtedness had more to do with their caste than their loans. “Our attempt will be to divert the people from cotton. Vikas took over the project. why are the able-bodied. more than rudimentary thinking has to go into the entire exercise. his land army is working overtime to create facilities that could turn this godforsaken land of Kolam tribals bordering the Naxalite-infested part of Andhra Pradesh into another Anandwan. where the rural indebtedness problem is the most severe. With help from Vikas Amte. Anandwan seems within striking distance.” Vikas says proudly. the son is walking on his own. We won’t prescribe any particular method of farming like organic or natural farming. ……… (Indian Express 25/2/07) Panel on farmer distress to miss Budget deadline. (Asian Age 25/2/07) Farming hope in suicide belt (20) MULGAVAN.” he says. Baba Amte’s youngest son. Unlike Baba and younger brother Prakash. run-off formations are being levelled.

Mr Chidambaram has fixed a target of Rs 2. The state governments will be urged to use these funds primarily in the distressed districts. Moreover.37 lakh new farmers were brought into the institutional credit system.677 crores has been made available. Contrary to perceptions. Mr Chidambaram referred to the Prime Minister’s special package being implemented in the 31 distressed districts in four states.” the member said. (Asian Age 1/3/07) 4 more farmer suicides in AP (20) .000 hectares will be created. The measures include stepping up outlay for the accelerated irrigation benefit programme. Public as well as large private sector companies will be invited to submit plans to scale up the production of seeds.000 crores. until December 2006. such as local moneylenders. “It’s not that there’s no credit-absorption capacity in the sector. we found that given a choice. “farmers are paying a higher interest rate and have to make a lot of trips to get loans cleared”. apart from helping farmers.75. With the causes and levels of indebtedness varying across the country. but there are no institutions for service delivery. But in our interactions. he explained. you become indebted”. This year. The intentions are good when loans to the sector are doubled. it just needs proper planning.” a member of the committee revealed. The ban on forward trading in wheat and rice may help in reduction of prices. The committee also found that borrowings from the informal sector. And it gets worse. Even banks and micro-finance institutions charge 18-24 per cent interest on farm loans. Though the government promised agriculture loans at 7 per cent this year. conducted at the request of the Agriculture Ministry in 2002-03. “There is no state in the country where we can say that agriculture is doing well. Thirty-five projects are likely to be completed in 2006-07 and an additional irrigation potential of 900.000 crores set for 2006-07 will be exceeded comfortably and is likely to reach Rs 1. In order to deal with farmer suicides. There will be a sharper focus on scaling up the production of breeder. will be raised to Rs 12. the lack of land reforms and the strong feudal forces in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are a problem. “Interest rates for homes and cars are much lower than farm loans.90. An NSSO survey. (Indian Express 27/2/07) 50 lakh farmers to get loans (20) New Delhi. Feb. increasing credit flows to the farm sector. no farmer would like to stay in agriculture. The target of Rs 1. though there is some ‘u-turn’ recently. the committee member pointed out. had found that 40 per cent of farmer households wanted to quit the occupation. With loan rates high and returns from agriculture lower.000 crores towards institutional credit flows for the farmers.” the committee has found. The Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) has been revamped in order to complete more irrigation projects in the quickest possible time. Chidambaram on Wednesday outlined the number of measures to revive the agricultural sector. are still high and credit supply from the formal sector has dipped in the last three years. “once you take a loan. It aims to bring 50 lakh farmers into the banking system. However. Bihar’s agriculture has progressed a little due to remittances from the state’s migrant workers who are now found working as far as Kerala. 28: Finance minister P.” said a committee member.25." Mr Chidmabaram said.000 crores. The government has proposed to expand the integrated oilseeds programme. direct fertiliser subsidies to farmers and continuance of the agricultural insurance scheme. which sanctions and disburses funds to state governments. foundation and certified seeds.rising. The two per cent interest subvention scheme for short-term crop loans will continue and a budgetary provision of Rs 1. "The goal of doubling farm credit in three years was achieved in two years. the despondence among farmers has got worse. The corpus of Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF). the committee has set up four regional sub-committees. 53.

The amount released included Rs 784 crore for waiver of interest on loans taken by farmers and about Rs 700 crore for irrigation projects. whose charred body was found in the Singur area when the agitation against the automobile project was on last year. Another farmer. The fourth was C Narsimhulu. They also said the stranglehold of the private moneylender remained intact and this prompted Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat to ask the Minister to ensure that the States implemented the Money Lenders Act. is suspected to have committed suicide. but was unable to pay back. Raising the matter during the question hour.873 crore package announced by the Prime Minister for relief to farmers in six districts of the Vidarbha region. Pawar's party colleague Datta Meghe also drew his attention to the sorry plight of the farmers in the Vidarbha region. M Venkateswarlu. was one of their supporters. The Minister added the rehabilitation manual was also changed some months back following a strong representation by several States. Local Trinamool Congress MLA Rabindranath Bhattacharjee said that the farmer had taken his life out of despair following the forcible acquisition of a plot of his land by the administration for the project. Preliminary reports reveal that the death could be the fall-out of family anxieties. (The Hindu 13/3/07) Police fire in air near Bharatpur (20) . The Minister in his reply said the Centre in the last six months released Rs 1. also committed suicide on Wednesday by consuming pesticide. he said adding this added to the problems of the agriculturists. a sugarcane farmer. it is being claimed by those opposed to the setting up of the Tata Motors' car manufacturing plant at Singur in West Bengal's Hooghly district. Even as Pawar tried to convince the House that the Centre was making all efforts to prevent the farmers from taking the extreme step. …… Pioneer 10/3/07) Farmer's death at Singur `unnatural' (20) Kolkata: A farmer who. Sources in the committee claimed that Haradhan Bag was its supporter. citing lack of resources. Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy said that Haradhan Bag might have been driven to suicide after the Government signed the land lease agreement for the project with the Tata Motors' management on March 9. for more than 45 minutes of the question hour the farmers' suicide issue was taken up. He too had failed to sell his crop.530 crore or 40 per cent of the Rs 3. MARCH 8: Four more farmers have committed suicide in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh after failing to repay debts. The body was sent for post-mortem examination. he said. Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena) said the Prime Minister's package had not made any difference to the poor farmers and the officials were not releasing funds thereby forcing the hapless farmers to commit suicide.HYDERABAD. Inspector-General of Police (Law and Order). The police investigating the incident have described the death of 78-year-old Haradhan Bag as "unnatural. One farmer allegedly killed himself after officials refused to release money to him for the house he had started constructing under the government’s Indiramma scheme. members charged that suicides were unabated even after the Prime Minister announced a financial package for the distressed farmers in six districts of Maharashtra. The death had led to a storm of protests by the Opposition parties with the Trinamool Congress leadership claiming that she had been murdered by those trying to stifle dissent against the project. said Raj Kanojia. Satyavrat Chaturvedi (Congress) said the rehabilitation manual for providing relief to the farmers after destruction of their crops had remained unchanged since 1970. committed suicide as he could not sell his crop. The State Congress leadership has demanded an inquiry into the incident by the Central Bureau of Investigation. A local sugar factory had allegedly refused to buy the crop. Officials said P Suri Babu. In fact. He had taken a loan of Rs 2 lakh. (Indian Express 9/3/07) Pawar faces Elders' wrath over suicide by farmers (20) New Delhi : Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar faced wrath in the Rajya Sabha on Friday on the issue of farmers committing suicide and the Elders cutting across party lines sought to know concrete measures taken by the Government to address the serious problem. The Trinamool Congress-led Krishi Jami Raksha (Save Farmland) Committee has been opposing the setting up of the automobile project on agricultural land. The CBI is already inquiring into the death of a teenage girl Tapashi Mallick. The cost of growing of crop had gone up manifold but the compensation in case of a calamity remained meagre." It is believed that he had died after consuming poison at his residence in the Berabari area of Singur.

Mr. Barmer. Churu. besides talking to the family members of those farmers who have committed suicide. a retired IAS officer. who narrated heart-rending scenes he came across while visiting the affected villages.000 and conversion of short-term loans into longterm loans. who toured Amber tehsil of Jaipur district to assess the damage caused to farmers. March 15: Former Prime Minister V. Bharatpur— were so far affected by hailstorm. and Darapur and at Chokerwada. The SHG will not be restricted to women but also include farmers. got on to the streets to press their demand for compensation. adding that the possibilities of exploitation of widows with both reported and non-reported cases will be dealt with. songs. not the Doha Round' (20) New Delhi. Pali. CBCI western region president Archbishop Abraham Viruthkulangara said. March 13 : Roman Catholic churches under the patronage of Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) and NGOs have come forward to help distressed farmers of the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra. he said.JAIPUR: Police fired in the air to disperse farmers blocking the national highway between Jaipur and Agra at Dehra Mod near Bharatpur town in Rajasthan on Tuesday. a secular socio-technical development organisation. said Manavalan. Jaipur." The leaders pointed out that the Centre has been organising a seminar on saving Doha and delivering development. He demanded free treatment and a relief of Rs. who urged the government to shed its "Save Doha Round" bias in favour of "save small and marginal farmers.” said D Manavalan. talking to journalists after a tour of the affected areas here in the evening. A meeting of representatives of Caritas. “The unabated suicide of farmers in the region was discussed by CBCI. the counsellors will initiate confidence building measures and adopt traditional methods such as street plays. Sriganganagar. Shukla. Counselling centres are being set up at all the places for affected persons and families. As part of the programme. Those who sustained injuries in the reported stone-throwing by farmers included R. Dausa. Ooncha Nagla.” Abraham said. Bundi. "Now the Indian government is being used by the US and the EU to bulldoze opposition to the Doha process and clear the ground for its resumption and early conclusion. smallscale watershed development programme and income generation programmes and networking with government agencies to ensure resources reach the right person on time. Karauli. he said. Kalla demanded waiving of farm loans up to Rs. And the save Doha seminar was part of . Dholpur. Bikaner. and to those who are in distress. Nagaur. social activist Vandana Shiva. (The Hindu 14/3/07) Church to aid of Vidarbha farmers (20) Nagpur. “We will assess the needs of farmers and help them in sustainable farming and organic farming to come out of the crisis. the acting Collector of Bharatpur. which is the most affected district. Sawai Madhopur. awareness about eco-friendly methods of farming. Alwar. CBCI social service committees and representatives from Archdiocese of Amravati and Chandrapur was held in city. The farmers picketed the road at Chiksana.P. said 10 farmers sustained injuries in police action in Bharatpur district. Kalla. The Government should order a "girdawari" (assessment of damages) in the affected areas and provide compensation to farmers. Sikar. AFPRO.D.50. The highway was blocked at different points during the day as the farmers. said 20 districts of Rajasthan— Ajmer. Pradesh Congress Committee president B. Phid Fani. Superintendent of Police Anand Srivastava said the police fired four rounds in the air to disperse farmers at Dehra Mod police chowki and cleared the roadblocks. Mr. Jhunjhunu. a social wing of CBCI and Action For Food Programme (AFPRO) in the counselling in six affected districts of Vidarbha. which has been reeling under a severe agrarian crisis. victims of freak weather conditions which brought rain and hailstorm.P. particularly widows of deceased farmers. play and display of posters. Sirohi. Executive Director of AFPRO. Jalore. Mr. besides adequate compensation to the affected. It will hold its next meeting on April 18 at Yavatmal. A self-help group of women. said a 60-year-old farmer had died in Amber tehsil out of shock at the damage to his standing crops and another was admitted to the Sawai Man Singh Hospital here. Kalla. he said. Singh. writer Arundhati Roy and Mr Prashant Bhushan are among the 50 eminent personalities.K. which has decided to engage NGOs like Caritas. will be run with the help of social service committees of CBCI . former Indian ambassador to Gatt S. The programme includes monitoring of the financial help reaching the affected families. Kalla. The farmers would be provided with psycho-social counselling.Tripathi. (The Indian Exp 14/3/07) 'Save farmers. Hanumangarh.10.000 to the injured persons.

As a result. "The committee are not in agreement with the logic given by the department that when MSP was Rs 650 for wheat. (Pioneer 21/3/07) Rajasthan: Chaos in House over relief for farmers (20) Jaipur. Trade liberalisation translates into falling prices for farmers and rising prices for consumers. the Government had to import it. Under the provisions of the Act. the Congress MLAs staged a walkout alleging that the package was too little. "Government's pricing policy for agricultural commodities should safeguard the interest of farmers at initial stage itself while announcing MSP rather than giving bonus at a later stage when farmers have sold most of their crops to private market. "How any law stipulates for recovery of food. March 23: The issue of relief package for farmers. "It is rushing ahead to provide market access to the United State in wheat. following which Speaker Sumitra Singh . The committee also expressed dismayed to note that the recommended scheme for enhancing sustainability of dryland farming has not been implemented yet."The committee recommend that at initial stage the MSP should be attractive enough for the farmers so that they sell their produce directly to the Government agencies. corn and wine imports and in reduction of duties on industrial products." the eminent persons said. the Opposition MLAs created a ruckus in the Assembly demanding that the state government announce a relief package for farmers." the committee asked. "The scheme should continue during Eleventh Plan Period." the report said. the stock of the Government godown would be sufficient and Government would not have to import foodgrains at a later stage which results in imbalancing the market prices and loss of foreign currency to the exchequer. is part of the Indian government response.of food and essential commodities was a major factor contributing to the electoral defeat." the committee report said. The bias of the save Doha seminar in terms of who have sponsored it. and it is a glaring example of the inefficiency of the Government in ameliorating the conditions of the farmers. although a bilateral agreement. says House panel (20) New Delhi : A Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture has said that schemes announced by the Government for rehabilitation of farmers and to streamline their loans have not brought any relief to them. They said." it said. as part of the package. The US-India Knowledge Initiative in Agriculture. (Asian Age 16/3/07) Farmers' rehab scheme a failure. The ruling party at the Centre recently lost elections in two states and it has been admitted at the highest levels of the party that increase in prices. The grants provided under these schemes have not taken care of their existing loans. rocked the Rajasthan Assembly once again on Friday. who are invited and what will be discussed. the committee headed by Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav asked the Government to abolish the Public Debt Recovery Acts. the food prices are going through the ceiling in India. after exhausting all other avenues for recovery of loans. The government also waved off electricity bills for four months and promised to provide 100 kilogram of wheat to the affected families. the other Congress MLAs joined him and raised slogans against the Raje government. generating super profits for agribusiness. Taking note of at least 12. "The package announced by Prime Minister for Vidarbha region in Maharashtra not reaching the farmer. The committee blamed the Government's low MSP for the procurement fiasco last year. "Today.000 farmers committing suicide in the last five years. the fate of this important scheme is in doldrums. affected by the recent hailstorms. Sayvam Lodha of Congress said the government should stick to its promise of announcing it on Friday. "The confusion between the Agriculture Ministry and the Planning Commission is yet to be cleared." they added.this bulldozing. In this way. While the ruling BJP announced a relief package of Rs 170 crore. During zero hour. transport and other expenditure from a farmer detainee in a country where even hardened criminals have free food and shelter in jail. It was also unhappy that the Government was dilly-dallying implementation of the scheme. with the increasing polarisation of prices. Soon after." Agriculture Standing Committee in its twenty-third report said. which provides for imprisonment of farmers who default in repayment of loans. the farmer benefited by selling it at higher prices in the open market and afterwards for the benefit of consumers." The US has been pressing that India should play a role and Indian government is only too willing to oblige. which the farmers are not able to repay in the case of failure of their crop while the interest on the principal is piling up. banks invoke this legal provision to secure arrest warrants for the defaulters.

“In the interim relief. “Earlier. A bulk of these have been taking place in Wayanad. the banks in Wayanad disbursed . he got a bumper 12 quintals. however. which has now been increased to Rs 3. the farmers expected the government to pay for everything.000 per hectare. (Indian Express 24/3/07) In dry Vidarbha. we are busy even at this time of the year. The neighbouring village of Dhotra also secured ownership of its irrigation dam. we had nothing to do after the kharif crop. Droughts. “The farmers’ incomes have increased by three-five times in the first season. cardamom.000 per hectare of non-irrigated land. added that over 800 farmers had committed suicide during the last Congress-led UDF government. the German development bank. MARCH 26: On an average. the German bank had tried to peg the project in Bihar and Rajasthan. while the villagers have to fund the rest — either by way of cash or labour. This year. We had never grown soyabean. ginger and coffee. built on a local nullah. the lead bank in the district. at least one farmer has been killing himself every third day in Kerala after the V S Achuthanandan government came to power. “Progress was initially slow as the Participatory Irrigation and Development Process was a new concept . Raut still has about two quintals of cotton left in his field. bad crops and debt traps have hit Wayanad’s once-booming local economy. officials of Canara Bank. although the last cotton picking is usually done in January. Some 101 of them have already hanged. Similarly. Presenting the statistics at the state Assembly today. The project was formally handed over to Hatgaon at a function in Wardha on Saturday. Last year. with over 1 million cubic metres of water. Palakkad and elsewhere in smaller numbers. The project is being managed by the village’s Water Users’ Association (WUA). Since last year. Hatgaon has become the first village to own a minor irrigation project — which it partly built and is now operating and maintaining on its own. compared to the statewide average of a little over 50 per cent.000.” says Husen Raut. Moreover.” she stated. In fact. burned or poisoned themselves to death since May 2006. The overall credit-deposit ratio in Wayanad is now 171 per cent. Idukki. For those farmers who have used power for irrigation will receive Rs 4. per hectare. The drought-ridden village now has a dam. while those who have used diesel will receive Rs 6. The Rs 2-crore project. Hatgaon village and the surrounding areas located in the cotton bowl of Vidarbha have been in the news for farmers’ suicides. Not only have their yields increased. But acceptance took time. village reaps a rich harvest (20) PIMPRI-HATGAON (YAVATMAL). the project’s India consultant.adjourned the House. but failed. his returns added up to Rs 30. After the proceedings resumed. so most of us would work as labourers in neighbouring villages. wheat and gram.000. but they no longer have to depend on a single cotton crop as they are able to produce as many as three crops annually. began about three years ago. of which Rs 70 crore will be provided by the CRF as per its norms. Unofficial estimates say the numbers may be at least twice as many and many suicides are still being officially looked into. This year. told The Indian Express. and they have been able to recover their investments in a single year.000. Under the Participatory Irrigation and Development Process — restricted to 100-250 hectare irrigation area — KfW provides one-third of the project cost. price crashes. But even that is a fall from the 182 per cent a couple of years earlier. CM Vasundhara Raje announced a Rs 170-crore-package. Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran. a farmer in the area. Bapurao Meshram’s three acres of land yielded just one quintal of cotton last year. While he invested Rs 12. partially funded by KfW. 94 of the 110 families in Hatgaon are reaping rich dividends. we had promised to provide the farmers Rs 1. which had caused over 125 bank branches to come up in this sparsely populated hill district. The gross agricultural production of the village has gone up roughly by Rs 5 lakh per annum. “I used to get only three-four quintal of cotton till last year. besides Kozhikode.” he added. Initially. once internationally famous for its pepper. So. But that may soon be history.000. He also sowed soyabean and got six quintals of gram. I also have a second crop of wheat and a third crop of hot-weather gram. Now. (Indian Express 26/3/07) 101 farmer suicides in Kerala since May ’06 (20) KALPETTA.” recalled Kevin Smith. MARCH 25: In the past. Maharashtra Water Resources Department’s Local Irrigation Sector provides the technical assistance while a local NGO — in this case Wardha-based Dharamitra — is roped in for motivation and administrative guidance. I had 12 quintals of cotton.” says Maroti Thakre.

besides getting commercial banks to waive a part of the loans of farmers who killed themselves—the state government chipping in to make up the remaining where large amounts are involved. “They need to keep borrowing to survive. But a group of farmers suddenly brought out pesticide bottles and gulped down the contents before the police could prevent them from doing so. The nine farmers are said to be out of danger. Things did not look up since. The Government had deputed Assistant Commissioner Nagappa Sirasagi and senior police officials to talk to the sugarcane growers and persuade them not to go ahead with their threat to commit suicide. By worth Rs 756 crore. Amir Chand Makkar. of full cooperation in carrying out development activities in the region. Wayanad began going under prolonged spells of seasonal droughts. The farmers' grouse against the officer was that it was he who had persuaded them to cultivate sugarcane. 200 crore as compensation for the damage caused to their crops due to hailstorms and heavy rainfall this past February and March. in front of the tahsildar's office in the town. who command a great clout in Wayanad. the others blocked the Gulbarga-Jewargi National Highway for more than two hours. He had not been released till late in the evening. moneylenders stepped in. Hooda said the Congress was committed to completing the remaining portion of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal in Punjab territory and the issue was under consideration of the Supreme Court that is likely to deliver the verdict soon. By around 2004. Yet. Addressing a public meeting at Hansi. (Indian Express 27/3/07) Rs. private money lenders. and viral and fungi blights also affected the crops. Mr. A good many of the suicides have been blamed on the latter. detained the cane development officer of the factory. Basavaraj Thatti. Immediately after the nine farmers were taken to hospital. (THE HINDU 12/4/07) . It is now also working on waiving the interest on overdue farm loans under a government scheme. crop prices began sliding uncontrollably. He had also promised that the factory would purchase the sugarcane in time. even pepper (Wayanad accounted for the largest share of the country’s production) was down to less than one-fourth of its price in 2000. Mr. admit banking sources. The Jewargi Raitha Horata Samiti and the Jewargi Taluk Sugarcane Growers' Association. When repayment appeared to be flagging. did great business too. which are spearheading the agitation. He assured the local MLA.” a local bank manager said. They were arrested and released later. The existing laws just won’t do to contain them. With the state government under pressure. A two-wheeler belonging to the cane development officer of the factory was set ablaze by the protesters. Another group of farmers. The desperate move came after a three-month agitation by farmers whose sugarcane had not been purchased by Renuka Sugar Factory as promised. have called for a `Jewargi bandh' on Thursday in protest against what they termed the adamant attitude of the sugar factory. most of them being agricultural loans. He appealed to the farmers. The venue of the farmers' dharna and relay hunger strike. even if they may not be able to repay soon with no alternate source of income.” said state Finance Minister Thomas Isaac. after setting the motorcycle ablaze. many banks transformed the interest and principal into fresh farm loans. Referring to the criticism of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) being made by some leaders having "vested interest". (THE HINDU 8/4/07) Nine sugarcane farmers attempt suicide in Jewargi (20) JEWARGI (GULBARGA DISTRICT): Nine sugarcane farmers attempted suicide by drinking poison here on Wednesday. artisans and petty shopkeepers in the State to avail of the opportunity offered by the Government for waiving off interest on cooperative loans. “We are now going to amend the moneylending regulations drastically to control them. Till the late 1990s. Hooda asserted that "unemployment cannot be tackled without SEZs". Five of them have been shifted to the Government General Hospital in Gulbarga. Sensing the opportunity. the State Level Bankers’ Committee first put off revenue recovery for six months and agreed to offer more repayment time for short term loans. the district was a prosperous agricultural belt. 200 crore compensation for Haryana farmers (20) CHANDIGARH: Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Saturday announced that farmers in the State would be given Rs. resulting in the farmers going under far higher debts than the original loans involved. was tense since the morning.

Rajasthan to spend over 200 crore on agriculture (20) JAIPUR: The Rajasthan Government has set the target of spending Rs.05-lakh hectares.000. And the cooperative banks have done this to the tune of Rs.710.50 crore to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in March this year towards partial repayment of the interest waived by commercial banks.35 crore on animal husbandry. Besides. the State Government has set the target for disbursement of loans worth Rs. commercial banks and urban cooperative banks have waived interest amounting to Rs.648 crore in March itself to the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to make good the interest waived by the cooperatives. Rs.70 crore on storage of farm produce and Rs. 8. It also released Rs. 2. Two such incidents were reported from Bolangir and Rayagada districts earlier. but had not been able to repay the loan due to crop failure. taking the total interest waived for farmers of the State to Rs.31 crore on agriculture and related services during the 2007-08 Annual Plan to produce 1. and one of his daughters died while being taken to the hospital on Thursday. The works under the scheme will include those of plantation. As part of the agricultural services. 85 lakh on fisheries. The Annual Plan allocation for the National Horticulture Mission amounts to Rs. In the three distressed districts.96 crore on cooperative activities. Palakkad and Kasaragod. He had availed of the loan from a cooperative society for cotton cultivation last year. 50.117. 8. Reports indicated that the farmer was under severe mental stress as he was worried about his failure to repay the loan and marriage of both the daughters. it was said that deteriorating financial condition of the family had forced them to take the extreme step.670 crore to farmers through cooperative societies during the year. cotton over 5-lakh hectares and sugarcane over 5.44 crore till March 26. maintenance of trees and land and water conservation. banks have been directed to . Rs. the total farmers' debt rescheduled for repayment in the State is of the order of Rs. Rs. With the cooperative banks rescheduling loans amounting to Rs. (The Hindu 25/4/07) Cotton farmer. 3.65 crore has been made for the scheme during 2007-08. It was the third incident of suicide by cotton farmers in the State in less than a year.218.68.26-crore hectares. Instead. the second daughter breathed her last on Friday. 2 crore. (The Hindu 18/4/07) Debt-ridden farmers get a helping hand (20) THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The banks and the Government are earnestly attempting to take relief to the crisis-ridden farm sector in the State. the commercial banks and urban cooperative banks have rescheduled farmers' loans totalling Rs. judging by the data relating to loan write-off.000-hectare area during the Plan period.61 crore will be given to Agriculture Universities in Bikaner and Udaipur. The three consumed pesticide in their field on the outskirts of Malikamunda village under Patnagarh block of Bolangir on Thursday. According to the official release. (The Hindu 28/4/07) Farmers need not submit `no due' certificate (20) NEW DELHI: The Reserve Bank of India has waived the condition for farmers to submit a `no due' certificate for obtaining bank loans up to Rs.72 crore on loans taken by farmers of the distressed districts of Wayanad.05 crore. An official release stated here on Tuesday that while food grains would be sown in an area measuring 1.000. 17. The State Government released Rs. As on March 26 this year. Although the exact reason behind the suicides was not known immediately. interest waiver and loan reschedule presented at the State Level Bankers' Meeting (SLBC) here on Tuesday. 202. oilseeds would be sown over 46. 48. the burden of the waiver of overdue interest has to be shared equally by the State and the Union Government. 25. and Rs.323.22 crore will be spent on farm production. 47 lakh on water conservation. While the farmer Akrura Sahu.387. A provision of Rs.58 crore. 54. 18 districts have been included in the State Forestry and Biodiversity Scheme funded by the Japan Bank.6-crore metric tonnes of food grain. According to the package announced by the Union Government for the farmers of the distressed districts. Rs.30 crore. Rs.000 hectares.100. 88. 2 daughters end life (20) BHUBANESWAR: Abject poverty and failure to repay loan taken for cotton cultivation forced a farmer and two of his daughters to commit suicide in Bolangir district of Orissa. Over 15-lakh fruit bearing trees will be distributed and saplings planted in a 5.49 crore. The farmer had a loan burden of Rs.

" they added. banks have been directed to provide such small loans to farmers on the basis of a self-declaration. (The Hindu 2/5/07) Farmers need not submit `no due' certificate (20) NEW DELHI: The Reserve Bank of India has waived the condition for farmers to submit a `no due' certificate for obtaining bank loans up to Rs. the RBI said the present procedure to produce the NDC from various banks or cooperative financial institutions operating in the area to get loans from any of the commercial banks ``entails considerable amount of time and money. On the other hand. Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) said on Monday that the recent official declaration of 148 suicide deaths among farmers is "only a tip of the iceberg"." State BKS leaders said they had received complaints from Jamnagar farmers who had been lured into selling their land to a top business house. including panchayati raj institutions. Disputing state agriculture minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasma's claim that the outgoing fiscal year's agricultural production has been a stupendous Rs 32. another farmer from Halwad in Surendranagar district had committed suicide. We want a complete change in the SEZ laws. BKS general secretary Maganbhai Patel said. "We do not want private developers to build SEZs.5 per cent for potatoes." pointed out (Times of India 8/5/07) Farmers protest against SEZ (20) MUMBAI: A month after Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh stayed land acquisition for the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance SEZ project in the Pen-Panvel-Uran belt in coastal Raigad district. we would have been richer than the government is today. "In Saurashtra. Announcing this in a notification. 20 per cent for pulses and 26 per cent for wheat." Patel and Senjalia were addressing mediapersons at the completion of the BKS representatives' meet where they were re-elected to their posts for another three years. All SEZs should be built by the government. 12. These suicides are brushed aside as resulting from domestic problems." Patel said. The BKS has registered a case of suicide and has demanded state compensation. "These are all fudged figures. 50. sharecroppers and oral lessees against certificates of identity and status issued by the local administration. An analytical comparison drawn up by the BKS suggested that the price for agricultural commodities has increased very marginally over the last decade. Talking with mediapersons on Monday.provide such small loans to farmers on the basis of a self-declaration.000." he added. Had this been so. (The Hindu 2/5/07) 'State govt ignoring farmer suicides' (20) GANDHINAGAR: The Sangh Parivar farmers' wing.'' The RBI also asked the commercial banks to provide loans for crop cultivation to landless labourers. "A sharp rise in the input cost and the inability to get good prices have forced farmers to borrow. But the problems arise because of the farmers' poor plight in rural Gujarat. BKS president Prafull Senjalia said. sharecroppers and oral lessees against certificates of identity and status issued by the local administration. 13 per cent for paddy. a farmer from Khambha village in Amreli district committed suicide after failing to repay a debt of Rs 7 lakh. and that of power by 120 per cent. Instead. ranging from nil for edible oils and sugarcane to three per cent for cotton. even if they are priced higher than the market price." "Only eight days ago. the input cost of diesel has gone up by 390 per cent. A fortnight ago. "The police stations do not register farmers' suicide deaths.'' The RBI also asked the commercial banks to provide loans for crop cultivation to landless labourers. "The situation is not very different in other parts of the state. All-India BKS organising secretary S K Kulkarni declared that the body will launch a massive agitation against the special economic zones (SEZs) being built all over the country. Announcing this in a notification. the entire green belt from Mahuva to Veraval faces the prospect of destruction if an SEZ comes up in that area. Under no circumstances should farmers' land be taken away for SEZs.000 crore. now farmers in Alibag tehsil in the same region led by former chief of naval staff admiral L Ramdas . including panchayati raj institutions. the RBI said the present procedure to produce the NDC from various banks or cooperative financial institutions operating in the area to get loans from any of the commercial banks ``entails considerable amount of time and money. including 33 in Gujarat.

According to figures cited by Deshmukh to the prime minister. president of the ‘Gao bachao Sangharsha Samiti’. (The Hindu 12/5/07) 2 more farmers end lives in Akola (20) AKOLA: There seems no respite to the suicides of farmers in Vidarbha. Meanwhile. we don’t need an SEZ for the development of Alibag. And looking at Kedar's photograph on the ration card. it is possible to believe them. According to official estimates. Deshmukh. the Raigad collector has not yet initiated any steps for the purpose. . Significantly. he was debt-ridden." said Amit Patil.000 acres of land in 22 villages and hand over the same to India Bulls. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has directed all Deputy Commissioners in the State to collect data on farmers who have committed ``suicide'' during 2002-2007 along with the details of loans taken from any bank. Patil has obtained all the relevant information on the SEZ by invoking provisions of the RTI Act. Washim and Yavatmal during the first three months of this . Threatened by the moneylender. officials said here on Friday quoting the survey. 575 farmers had committed suicide due to agrarian crisis in the six worst-affected districts of Vidarbha in 2006 with the first three months accounting for 168 deaths. as per official records. The ration card says he was 40 years old though his relatives insist he was only 26. even though the notification for acquisition of land was promulgated on October 27. "It will have an adverse impact on 50. 40 farmers have committed suicide in the six districts of Akola. the Dalit western Uttar Pradesh farmer ended his life last week. Wardha. (Times of India 9/5/07) Suicide by farmer in western UP (20) BHILAVALI (Agra): Kedar Singh wasn't a marginal cotton cultivator in the killing fields of Vidarbha. 2006. when a MPCC delegation led by former MP Sanjay Nirupam visited a section of villages. Deshmukh had convened a special meeting to consider the proposal of India Bulls infrastructure development corporation for setting up a multi-product SEZ in Alibag tehsil. But after a visit to Kedar's house.. followed by 64 in Mari Mustaffa village. 2006. distressed by crop failure and swindled by the man to whom he had sold off his land. On October 27.75 bighas. On September 21. Angry farmers have strongly opposed the proposal saying the land proposed to be acquired is highly fertile. The land proposed to be acquired includes a plot allotted to Ramdas. Under provision 157A of the 1950 Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act in UP." Ramdas said. They found him hanging by a hook the morning after. The maximum number of suicides (70) has taken place in Kishanpura village. Kedar's relatives say that the cultivator was conned by a fellow upper caste villager. Amravati. He promised to pay Kedar in a few days but never did.263 farmers have committed suicide in seven states.have demanded immediate withdrawal of the notification for allotment of land to the India Bulls SEZ project. Buldhana. had sidestepped the rule through a benami transaction involving another SC villager. who had bought his entire land — 1. But like many of them. Ramdas said it was a new strategy to grab land. a Brahmin of the adjoining Chhoti Bhilavali hamlet. (Times of India 9/5/07) Farmers' suicides in Punjab (20) MOGA: A survey conducted by the Administration has found that 498 farmers have committed ``suicide'' in Moga district of Punjab since 1990. 23 in Kussa village and 22 in Rauke village. "We will not part with our land. 8. had in a letter to prime minister Manmohan Singh recently. located about 25 km from the Taj Mahal town. one gathers that perhaps both grinding poverty and oppressive social structures combined to kill the Jatav farmer on May 2." says wife Rajan Devi. said the number of farmers' suicides have reduced sharply from 61 in March last year to 16 for the same month this year. 2006. they had to face the wrath of the local farmers for the unilateral decision of the Congress-led Democratic Front government to acquire the land for the India Bulls SEZ. 30 in Himatpura village. MIDC chief executive officer Rajiv Jalota made it clear that under no circumstances would there be forcible acquisition of land. As per official statistics. 27 in Machhike village. Villagers say the buyer.000 farmers of Alibag. A few days ago. to be precise. Bountiful western UP appeared to have bucked the trend. the government issued an extraordinary notification empowering the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to acquire nearly 5. agricultural land owned by Schedule Castes cannot be sold to a non-SC without obtaining permission from the district administration. despite Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh claiming a drop in farmers suicide case. "He ate just one roti and went off to sleep on the neighbour's roof. 26 in Bhinder Kalan.

(Indian Express 18/5/07) Another farmer commits suicide in Singur (20) Kolkata : In the second such suicide since March. “With the end to the sugarcane crushing season fast approaching. ………. a debt-ridden marginal farmer Sahdeo Sukhdev Chakre (40) of village Mazlapur Dapura near Akola committed suicide by consuming poison on Saturday. a farmer hanged himself in Singur.98 lakh hectares against a targeted 2. This is leading to the crisis.000 loan from a bank and another Rs 60.year. “Our findings indicate that out of the 29 suicides for which causes have been ascertained. The suicides have come even after the H D Kumaraswamy-led Government intervened in April and announced an additional cover of Rs 100 to farmers on every ton of sugarcane. Pachpohe owned two acres of dryland and non-payment of loan and constant crop failure drove him to extreme step.25 lakh hectares. Since January this year. Das. According to police sources. When a small farmer does not get his expected return on the investment. Another marginal farmer Ramdas Pachpohe (52) of Ramtekpura in Akot tehsil. The accentuating factors are many. puts the figure at 44 for this year alone. drought-prone Bidar district in 1998 and 2002. he cannot afford anything the next year. The family members of Prasanta Das allege that he took the extreme step on Thursday night as he had been depressed since his land was acquired for the small car project. The state Government has also promised the factories concessions on the lines provided in Maharashtra. This is a name-wise list.” Deputy Commissioner Munish Moutgil said. was a member of the anti-land acquisition Singur Krishijami Raksha Committee. (Times of India 15/5/07) Sugarcane piles driving Bidar farmers to suicide (20) Bangalore. Since May 1 there have been four more cases. refused to comment on the reason behind the death. and the Bidar Cooperative Sugar Factory under his son Ishwar Khandre. nearly 40 kms from. 40. The area covered by sugarcane in 2006-07 in the state rose to 3. the suicide rates have increased. He hanged himself from a ceiling. a sharp decline in demand for sugar and cooperative factories reneging on agreements with member farmers.750 per ton last year to around Rs 800 this year. Mukherjee. in an effort to get them to process the farmer’s produce. The suicides have peaked with the approaching end to the sugarcane processing period at sugar factories—on May 31— even as an unofficially estimated five lakh ton of sugarcane crop is still standing on the nearly 76 lakh acres cropped in Bidar district. like other major sugarcane producing states. we had verified 29 farmer suicide cases in Bidar. even if it takes a while. local authorities in Bidar have recorded 33 sugarcane farmer deaths while the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS). the suicides seem to be a result of excess production of sugarcane leading to a steep drop in the prices for sugarcane from Rs 1. In sharp contrast to the CM's claim. two more farmers allegedly committed suicide in Akola district since Saturday. here allegedly ended life by hanging himself in his house on Sunday. the Mahatma Gandhi Cooperative Sugar Factory under former Congress MLA Bheemanna Khandre. He had only five acres of dryland and took Rs 18.” says KRRS secretary Veerabhushan Nandgave.” the DC said. Despite the Karnataka Government’s assurances to farmers that all standing crop will also be processed at the three major cooperative sugar factories in the district. has already notched a high in sugar production. His body was found in the wee hours on Friday.59 lakh hectares or last year’s 3. senior police official Kalyan Mukherjee confirmed. The three major cooperative factories in the region for instance are under the control of Congress politicians—the Naranja Cooperative Sugar Factory under Aurad Congress MLA Gurupadappa Nagamarapalli. We are still finalising a report on the latest deaths. Karnataka. May 17: If crop failure had led to farmer suicides in north Karnataka’s semi-arid. the area in West Bengal that has been witnessing unrest over land acquisition for a Tata Motors project. “Till April 30. While macro economic factors are largely behind the suicides. including a waiver of purchase tax.. 23 deaths are related to the sugarcane crop crisis in the district. small farmers who invested heavily on the cash crop through borrowings from banks and moneylenders are not seeing light at the end of tunnel. The dead . a bumper sugarcane crop for 2006-07 is now at the root of a spate of suicides in the district over the past three weeks. family sources said.000 loan from a money-lender. accounting for 21 lakh metric ton and is expecting to touch 26 lakh metric ton against last year’s high of 17 lakh metric ton by the end of season. there are also allegations of policies of the sugar factories and cruel local politics involving the factories. If not harvested in time sugarcane loses its value. however. On the surface. a farmers’ party.

The working group on marketing reforms. "It is necessary to prevent by law the displacement of farmers from their land as a consequence of any contract farming agreement. chief ministers and top level officials were busy discussing the crisis in agriculture sector in New Delhi on Tuesday at a meeting presided over by the prime minister. five more farmers committed suicide in Vidarbha. Experience with . The state is taking a stand that most of the suicide cases were out of non-agrarian reasons. to mediate between sponsoring companies and farmers in case of disagreement between the two. reported. Bhangaberia and Baharganj. another elderly farmer committed suicide by consuming pesticide a couple of months ago as he was also depressed at having to concede his land to the Tata project. were murdered. He had owned five acres of land. (Pioneer 26/5/07) Five more farmers commit suicide (20) NAGPUR: Even as Union ministers. according to Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti. He has demanded urgent steps to ensure food security in the affected districts. Meanwhile. Narayan Thak of Kotha village in Yavatmal. The hapless farmer's death comes a day after the proposed Nandigram peace talks failed after Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee walked out from the all-party meeting holding the West Bengal CPI(M) responsible for the failure of the peace process. This year too the rate was alarming in the first five months. said." said Tiwari. sources at the district administration said. were false. Gopal Dani of Baradkinhi in Chandrapur. ……. Sher Khan Chowk. While two people. Samiti convenor Kishore Tiwari has alleged that claims made by the chief minister in his presentation before prime minister Manmohan Singh that farmers'suicides in Vidarbha had declined. We are not in favour of any policy that alienates people from their land. the leader of the committee said. With these deaths reported in the last 24 hours. a farmer Haradhan Bag had committed suicide in Singur. including Tapasi Mallick. however." the group said. the PM had visited Vidarbha and announced a special relief package for the farmers in the six districts of region's cotton growing belt. about 40 km from Kolkata in Hooghly district. This is fourth unnatural death in the area after the hostilities began. A sub-committee of the National Development Council (NDC) has called for a law to prevent displacement of farmers from their land as a consequence of contract farming. Becharam Manna. and do not encourage corporate farming.000. Nandigram flared up again with bombs and gunfire being exchanged between CPI(M) cadres and Trinamool backed Bhumi Ucchhed Pratirodh Committee since Thursday night. The five who ended their lives were identified as Subhash Dongare of Mahgaon in Akola district. (Times of India 30/5/07) NDC calls for law to save farmers' land (20) New Delhi : Several Chief Ministers have expressed concerns that contract farming could lead to land alienation. while others feel that the partnership should be monitored." "Some States have opposed contract farming. Das' land was acquired by the Government for the Tata Motors small car factory coming up in the area and he was suffering from depression since the forcible acquisition. Tiwari said even the government website of the relief mission cited the number of suicides last year at 1427." Manna said. "He was depressed. either party should be in a position to approach an authority which can meditate and settle the dispute.farmer was a resident of Khaserveri area in Singur. Anti-Tata project activists had claimed that land loss was behind that death too. The group also called for a dispute resolution mechanism." Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said. a Farmland activist. He had not been able to till his land for one year and was worried about the future of his two daughters. Shyam Rathode of Manora in Washim and Devanand Ambedare of Tekapar in Bhandara. He leaves behind his mother. Ambedare died in Bhandara civil hospital on Monday after he was rushed there in a serious condition as he consumed poison. wife. "About 70-80 bombs were hurled at Tekhali. the farmers'suicide toll this year has mounted to 406. But contract farming is not harmful and States are free to devise their own policy. preferably headed by sub-divisional magistrate. a daughter — and unpaid loans worth over Rs 50. contract farming and agro-processing while encouraging various models of contract farming. "In the event of violation of contract farming agreement. He had refused to accept money as compensation for the Tata project and was an active member of the movement." police said adding 30-40 rounds were also fired from both sides. No casualty was. Sources said the resumption of hostilities was a direct fallout of the failure of the peace talks. Last July. Earlier on March 13. "But the government is trying to play down the crisis.

Bidar . it has proposed that a fund designated as National Agriculture Stabilisation Fund. The group felt that if farmers face two consecutive natural calamities. The group recommended that land leasing should be made legal in all areas. Rural banks could now have these as the target and have their performance evaluated on this basis. Though the BJP-Janata Dal (S) Government is supposed to represent the pro-farmer lobby. and bridging the link between consumers and farmers. But in traditional agrarian States like Punjab and Haryana. In States like Maharashtra for instance. The group wants panchayat and NGOs to identify the rural poor who are still not able to access institutional credit and furnish the list to the nearest local bank. "Across the board waiver of loans should not be announced. "It is not that I reacted casually to the increasing instances of farmers' suicides and offered to quit. With more corporate entering the retail network. if natural calamity occurs consecutively for the third year. the report said: "Corporate farming for promoting agricultural diversification. open bank accounts and possess Kisan Crdit Card. The task is entrusted with rural financial institutions. Contract farming can perform the above mentioned functions equally efficiently and." However. contract farming should get preference over corporate farming. Pioneer 1/6/07 Karnataka CM to quit if farmer suicides continue (20) Bangalore : The farm sector in Karnataka is in deep crisis and Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said he would quit office before his term ends in October if farmers' suicides continue. if natural calamities occur consecutively for a few years. CMs told (20) New Delhi : The Planning Commission feels that untimely announcements by Chief Ministers to waive of farmers' loans does more harm than good." said the report of working group led by Planning Commission member Abhijit Sen. it has proposed norms for loan and interest waiver in case of natural calamities. therefore." the report submitted to National Development Council said. it wants a debt settlement board headed by independent expert to quickly resolve issues related to farmer's debt. Kumaraswamy has stated that he would quit office much before the completion of his 20-month term in October. To prevent exploitation of farmers by unscrupulous money-lenders. I am serious enough in the matter. It seems that the concept has worked where farmers have been able to organise themselves to grow a single produce. if interest has already been paid. especially in the sugarcane growing areas. ……. At each district.contract farming has been mixed. Drawing the distinction between corporate and contract farming. However. For the purpose of waiver." The sub-group has recommended that land leasing policy should be such as to help promote contract farming so that tenant farmers could benefit from the adoption of new technology and assured price ad market provided by any company. (Pioneer 31/5/07) Don't write off farm loans across board. the mere conversion of loan only increases the debt burden of the largely rain-fed farmers. value addition and exports may be encouraged only when the country attains a reasonable level of food security at both macro and household level.. While discouraging across the board waiver of loans. so that he could bounce back after the next Assembly polls. there is no doubt that the State Government has totally failed to tackle the agrarian crisis in rural Karnataka. fruit exporters have organised farmers. Suicides of farmers in the sugarcane growing areas of Belgaum. in political circles it is believed that the Chief Minister is planning to step down early to create a 'sympathy wave'. along with a provision that the size of holding of a farm family should not be above the ceilings fixed in respect of various categories of land in each State. The fund could be created through annual contributions through profits made by nationalised banks. In the wake of mounting suicides. there should be some arrangement for interest waiver or one-third of principle due. NABARD as well as contribution by States and the Centre. the group has proposed a universal access to financial system. If natural calamities occur consecutively for two to three years. It wants every farmer under the net of institutional credit. "Conversion of loans or reschedulement of loans are not every effective. provided better seeds and know-how. more companies are expected to contract their produce to farms. and procured harvest directly from the farmers. Lenders should have the prerogative to waive or write off the loans on the basis of well laid policy approved by their board. The board could also settle the debt taken from money lenders. small and marginal farmers should be given full relief in the form of waiver of entire amount due. The group also proposes a small annual cess on each farmers who avail of the loan to raise the fund. the response has been lukewarm.

The bumper production is being bought by the sugar factories at rock-bottom prices. (The Hindu 7/6/07) Farmers’ suicides: PM plan for sector delayed (20) NEW DELHI. the 14 sugar factories in the district are not in a position to crush the sugarcane. Agriculture Minister Surendranath Nayak said that the government had taken a series of measure to help cotton farmers to increase their yield. Therefore. The Chief Minister has now admitted that the loan-waiver scheme has not helped the farmers substantially. the country’s farmer suicide capital."The worst affected are the sugarcane farmers in Belgaum district. Even prices of copra and mangoes have nose-dived. committee members told The Indian Express that the report would take another two-three weeks. A high-level expert group under Indira Gandhi Institute of Development and Research (IGIDR) Director R Radhakrishna. While an RBI-appointed technical committee on alleviating rural indebtedness submitted its report last November. "We are already reeling under the burden of loan waiver. it was the traders who got the benefit. bordering Maharashtra. Nayak said. There is no doubt that the coalition Government is paying the price for announcing the loan waiver in the Budget to appease the farming community. (Pioneer 7/6/07) State Government denies suicide by cotton farmers (20) BHUBANESWAR: The State Government on Wednesday denied of any cotton farmer committing suicide in the State due to neglect on the part of the administration. the UPA Government’s plan to tackle the problem of rising rural indebtedness is yet to kick off. the Planning Commission had set up a sub-group on ‘indebtedness of farmers’ within the working group on ‘outreach of institutional finance and cooperative reforms’ for the Eleventh Five Year Plan. Even as the group’s report is awaited. the Government has already got two other reports on the issue.” a member said. Our recommendations call for institutional reforms as well as specific regional measures to tackle the different manifestations of indebtedness in different parts of the country. Kumaraswamy noted: "I released money for direct purchase of copra from farmers. The Opposition legislators demanded that the government must take adequate steps to help poor cotton farmers to come out of the debt trap.36 crore tonnes. Mandis (collection centres) had also been established in cotton growing areas through the Regional Marketing Committees. Participating in the discussion on the motion. Replying to an adjournment motion moved by Opposition Chief Whip Satyabhushan Sahu in the State Assembly on Wednesday. Punjab State Planning Board Vice-chairman Sardar Singh Johl chaired the two groups. the Minister said. involving nearly Rs 60 crore. While it was originally expected much before the Budget. He further said that the State Government had also requested the Cotton Corporation of India and the Central Government to extend the necessary assistance for the marketing of the cotton being produced in the State. “The suicides are only a symptom of the crisis in the farm sector due to its prolonged neglect. the PM indicated he expected the report by the end of May. the Government does not have the funds when the farmers are in dire straits. but their recommendations remain largely on paper. Referring to the effort of the Government to help copra farmers. JUNE 13: Almost a year after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s much-hyped visit to Vidarbha. The Minister claimed that the cotton farmers in different parts of the State were being provided with quality seed through government's seed outlets. Mr. it fetches up to Rs 1. In order to ensure market linkage for cotton farmers.000 per tonne. There has been a bumper crop this year and the production is estimated at 1. However. personally appointed by the PM after his visit. whereas in neighbouring Maharashtra. Arrangements had also been made to make loans available to cotton farmers through various cooperative organisations. However. is yet to submit its report.” the member added. with the farmers being paid less than Rs 1. Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader BS Yediyurappa said the Government has finalised a compensation package for sugarcane farmers.and Mandya has been shooting up in the past few weeks and the government has not been able to go to their rescue for want of funds. he added. The report submitted to .500. Now. It is not just the sugarcane farmers who are in trouble. several Opposition legislators blamed the Government for several incidents of alleged suicide by cotton farmers in different districts. we have requested the Union Government to support our efforts by at least 50 per cent. in his foreword to the three-year report card of UPA released last month. “We met on Monday and have begun drafting the final recommendations. But.

The visit will take stock of the progress made by these States in implementing the Rs. Kalam enquired if they had benefited from the government packages. A delegation of the wives of farmers who committed suicide in distress. Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Kalam as saying.RBI suggested some far-reaching moves — set up of a self-sustaining Rural Credit Guarantee Scheme for making good non-wilful defaults. "I am disturbed and will raise the matter with the officers concerned at the Centre and the State. It was also recommended that banks set up financial and technical counselling centres for distressed farmers. will also look at what the States propose to achieve under the new package for enhancing productivity. While reviewing the progress on Tuesday — which was found to be tardy on the credit and irrigation fronts — --Mr. Mr. Pawar and attended by ." Among other issues. (Indian Express 14/6/07) Kalam hears woes of ryots' wives (20) YAVATMAL: It was a poignant scene at the airport here on Friday. But that is yet to happen. accompanied by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar. the RBI had appointed a technical group under Punjab National Bank Chairman and MD SC Gupta. met President A. whose report is expected by June 30. 17. capital subsidies and other benefits for clean and green industries have been mooted to lure industry to the countryside along with a mandate to employ at least 80 per cent workers from rural areas.P. Twenty-year tax holidays. At Tuesday’s meeting. the President was well aware of the situation and questioned the women while reading the memorandum presented to him. Pawar virtually used this information as a stick for the States to speed up the implementation process. particularly that of the cotton growers. A sympathetic Mr. They replied in the negative. Senior RBI officials say that the scheme is still being finalised. "We told him that the yield of the BT cotton was as low as 50 kg per acre and pointed out how claims about its usefulness were false. (The Hindu 16/6/07) Farmers’ suicides: PM to visit 3 States (20) NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will again visit next month the three States from which the highest number of farmers’ suicides were reported — Vidarbha in Maharashtra.J. according to a spokesperson of the Samiti. Mr. It also demanded a ban on misleading advertisements the BT cottonseeds. the progress in the implementation of the rehabilitation package is lagging. Abdul Kalam on Friday. and most significantly." Mr. In his annual policy speech this April. RBI Governor Y V Reddy promised that the details of a Credit Guarantee Scheme for distressed farmers will be placed in the public domain by May 31. The memorandum urged the President to invoke the constitutional provisions and seek an explanation from the Government on the hopeless situation of the farmers and direct it to provide food and healthcare to the families besides implementing the provisions of the Seeds Control Order. Although the suicide rate is officially reported to have come down in these States.000 crore Farmers’ Rehabilitation Package announced by the Centre for 31 districts in these States and in Kerala. enact a new ‘Moneylenders’ Regulation Act’ to protect small farmers from usurious rates of interest. The package was announced during the recent National Development Council meeting. The President even chided officials who tried to hurry him up. The Prime Minister. chaired by Mr. Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and his Cabinet colleagues were not present during the interaction. 2007. for immediate quality control of seeds input and stop the trials and sale of the BT cotton seeds in dry land. "Contrary to our fears. The recommendations made to the RBI as well as the Planning Commission are largely similar and both stress on the need to attract industries to rural areas to remove excess people from farming and reduce small and marginal farmers’ reliance on farm income alone. Tiwari said. As for the new legislation for moneylenders. Kalam spent nearly 25 minutes with the women. He quoted Mr. The women wept while narrating their plight. open up of trading in commodity options and enable banks to act as aggregators so that small and marginal farmers can partake in futures and options trading. They even blamed the BT Cotton for their plight. 1983. the memorandum blamed "uncontrolled and unrestricted sale of spurious seeds" for the distress and sought a blanket ban on BT cottonseeds in the dry land farming areas. who told him that their condition had further deteriorated and they were unemployed." Samiti leader Kishore Tiwari told The Hindu . who are committing suicide by hundreds every year. Kalam delayed his departure to interact with the wives and activists of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti who have been working hard to salvage Vidarbha's sinking agrarian economy.

rainwater harvesting and micro-irrigation projects. said the State has no plan for the 11. Later when the crop fails. With his tractor gone and with no money to transport his sugarcane to the market. The minor irrigation programme has not started because it has been linked to credit under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund. the member of the committee expressed their dismay over the failure of the civil supply system. As the State Government has not come up with any attractive package for them. The Committee. When he could see no help from any quarters. 40. They are seeking 90 per cent grant instead of 25 to be able to complete irrigation projects that will benefit farmers in the 31 predominant suicide districts of these States.000 farmers in seven districts have already accepted cotton cultivation as their main source of livelihood.000 but subsequently defaulted on the remainder and also refused to return his tractor. who told him to approach the Hassan police for help.senior officials including the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra. The financier. The banks have neither met their lending targets nor have they given the requisite relief on loans and interests to farmers. However. have not yet been distributed. (The Hindu 20/6/07) Panel worries over cotton farmer suicides (20) Bhubaneswar : The Standing Committee of the State Assembly on Tuesday expressed concern over the rising number of death of cotton farmers in the State. hitting the programme. They alleged that the rice that were given under the Annapurna and Antodaya scheme. Somashekhar says he was told that the police could do nothing to help him. has not been included for funding under the same head in the 11th Plan. When not allowed to meet the former Prime . As they do not have the land. June 28: Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s recent threat to quit if farmers don’t stop committing suicide is being put to the test. The Committee recommended the Government to distribute the BPL cards and APL cards to all the household by March 31. Almost all the States complained of the slow progress made by nationalised banks in reducing the interest rate on farm loans and in rescheduling loans — which is at the centre of farmers’ distress in these drought-affected districts. The farmer. the States came up with a lot of procedural and funds-related grievances that were proving to be roadblocks in making effective the Centre’s intervention effective. H D Deve Gowda.000 hectare. He said he initially approached Kumaraswamy and later he went to CM’s brother and PWD minister H D Revanna for help. for instance. The farmer from Hiresave village in Hassan said he took the Rs 6 lakh loan from a private finance company and was subsequently under pressure to repay the loan. "The Government should think over this issue seriously and must come out with a plan to introduce a new policy in this regard. the home district of the Gowda family. they are taking loans from the brokers on a higher interest. according to Somashekhar. so they are not eligible to get loans from any financial institutions. (Pioneer 20/6/07) CM still can’t plug farmers suicides (20) Bangalore. Two days ago a farmer attempted to commit suicide by consuming pesticide outside the residence of Kumaraswamy’s father. Almost no progress was reported on watershed development.36 lakh farmers. Somashekhar returned to Deve Gowda’s house with a bottle of pesticide. in Bangalore. said the Chief Minister and his family had failed to help him overcome a debt of Rs 6 lakh incurred on a tractor loan. the farmer said he was helpless and was forced to seek political help. 2008. from a village in Hassan. The affected States are also seeking relaxation of norms under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme for major and medium irrigation programmes. The rainwater harvesting programme. Somashekhar. forcing him to rush to Deve Gowda once again on June 25 only to be rebuked and sent out this time. With no money to till his land he sought a Rs 1 lakh loan on the tractor from another financier. under the chairmanship of Opposition MLA Niranjana Pattnaik. Of which cotton is cultivated on 59. they commit suicides. Around 46. gave him an initial payment of Rs 60. chairman of the Committee Niranjana Patnaik said the state has 2 lakh hectare land which are suitable for cotton cultivation. he met Deve Gowda. Police sources confirmed that the farmer had approached them for help. The reasons given are cumbersome guidelines and confusion in availability of funds. earlier funded by the banking division of the Finance Ministry under the 10th Plan. After being shunted between the offices of the Hassan SP and the local police inspector. Later speaking to reporters. whereas the resource-starved States are looking for grants.'' said Patnaik. On June 26. which held its meeting.

(Indian Express 29/6/07) Relief measures fail to halt suicides by Vidarbha farmers (20) Mumbai : A year after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unveiled a Rs 3. for estimations of yields in a select group of crops.750 crore package for Vidarbha region and Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh went to town saying that his Government would in the coming years spend as much as Rs 10. as many as 1. (Pioneer 6/7/07) Centre to focus on farm statistics (20) New Delhi. despite the visit of a delegation of MS Swaminathan-led National Commission of Agriculture and Planning Commission to Vidarbha and subsequent relief package announced by the Prime Minister for the region." Inaugurating the workshop. and also take a review as to how the relief package announced by the latter had not brought about any change in the lives of the aggrieved cotton growers during the last one year. "The need of the hour is to restore rural social and civil system in Vidarbha. including space technology and on-line transfer of data. Have I cheated him for him to commit suicide in front of my house? I helped him get back the tractor he had mortgaged with a financier. 2006. after the farmer was discharged Deve Gowda reacted angrily to the attempted suicide on the sidelines of an event to induct cricketer Dodda Ganesh into the fold of the Janata Dal Secular. the Centre will now focus on improving the relevance and efficacy of farm statistics across the states by use of new technological tools. Or how else one can explain the continued spate of suicides by debttrapped farmers in this region? For. On Wednesday. Gokul Laxman Bosari (Padha village in Yavatmal district). The Samiti has been crusading for the farmers' cause for several years now. It is therefore necessary that data is collected efficiently at village. as the Rs 3.132 . pricing decisions.have committed suicide during this period.750 crore relief package has failed to arrest the on-going farmers' suicides in the region. Security staff on duty at the house rushed Somashekhar to a hospital. settlement of insurance claims and payment of drought relief assistance among others. On his part.132 farmers .000 farmers' suicides since 2002.K." The Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute is on the job of developing a remote sensing-based methodology for collection of agricultural statistical data and a pilot project is underway in the North-Eastern state of . agricultural statistics plays a crucial role in policy decisions ranging from export and import of farm commodities.Tiwari said farmers' suicides were continuing unabated. The VJAS identified the six farmers as: Prakash Govinda Darane (Yerabala village in Yavatmal district). Tiwari attributed the failure of the PM's relief package to what he perceived as "apathy of administration" and "poor implementation" of all schemes under the package.mostly debt trapped cotton farmers . the meteorological department. six more farmers ended their lives in the past 48 hours. not much has changed on the ground in this farmers' suicide belt of Maharashtra since then.Minister he drank the poison outside Gowda's house.” Deve Gowda said." Tiwari said in a statement issued from Nagpur.a shocking statistic arrived at by the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) through compilation of farmers' suicides reported from different parts of the cotton-growing region since the Prime Minister's visit on June 30 and July 1. Because. “If he wants to commit suicide. "States must bring their statistical departments to the mainstream of agricultural planning and put systems in place for timely collection of estimates and checking them with the data generated by the department of space. Union agriculture secretary P. taking the total number of suicides in this region during the last one year to 1. trade sources and other agencies. I cannot help it.000 crore for improving the irrigation facilities in this backward region. Shankar Bapu Andhale (Dhaba village in Akola district). He said that rampant corruption and excessive political interference had contributed to the ineffective implementation of the PM's package and as if to add insult to injury. Saloba Yashwant Nikhalke (Shelgaon in Buldhana) and Raju Bikha Chavan (Magrulpir in Washim district). A recent national workshop on farm statistics held under the aegis of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) reasoned: "As recent sequence of events have proved. July 15: Not happy with the present crop yield estimation methodology and infrastructure. block and district levels. A concerned VJAS chief Kishor Tiwari urged the Prime Minister to order a detailed investigation into the root cause of the agrarian crisis which has led to over 5. Mishra said. Suresh Shankar Ghuge ( Gondi Mahagaon in Nagpur district). the National Statistics and Survey Organisation (NSSO). the State administration had been providing 'misleading' feedback to the Centre. crop diversification.

All efforts are being made for achieving the targets of 200607 and 2007-08 by the end of March 2008. 2006. Sarangdhar Wasatkar of Chargaon in Akola. beneficiaries have been identified and bank loan arrangement for purchase of animals is being made. the national workshop also recommended a legislation on the lines of Population Census and Industrial Statistics. ending their lives over the last three days. According to Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti. in order to conduct and complete the farm census in time. On the same day. When the scheme was floated by the Centre last August after 71 farmers committed suicide in Karnataka alone. 2004. The aim of the project is to develop a suitable methodology for generation of data related to crop area and production through integration of remote sensing digital data and field surveys. Bandu Matange also of Washim. Prahlad Patil of Belora in Amravati. State dairy federations. 2007. Energy Minister H D Revanna. (Asian Age 16/7/07) A yr after it got 16-cr as relief for farmers.05-crore emergency relief provided by the Centre. The question was ‘why there should be any contradiction in the official reply to questions on the issue of suicide by farmers’. This transfer was done despite the Centre clearly identifying Karnataka Livestock Development Agency as the implementing agency. which are cooperatives and not state agencies. But five months later. the 11 latest victims of the agrarian crisis were identified as Dadarao Shembale of village Chincholi in Yavatmal. the House was informed that between July 1.04 lakh of grants-in-aid sanctioned during 2006-07 in favour of Karnataka under Special Livestock Package for suicide prone districts of the state. “Certified that out of the Rs 1605. is the brother of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy. Karnataka says not a single paisa spent (20) NEW DELHI. walked out of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly during question hour on Monday over the issue of farmers’ suicide. till date a sum of Rs NIL has been utilized. Vija Munde of Karli in Akola. The reason given by the state’s Animal Husbandry & Fisheries Department for handing over the relief programme to KMF was that the latter had “existing infrastructure and also marketing facilities available to the beneficiaries under the programme”. KMF confessed to the department that there was “very little time to identify the beneficiaries and get approval from district committees and for purchase of animals before March 2007”. Vithal Dakhare of Bhendala in Yavatmal and Gajanan Kothade of Elakhedi in Wardha. Jamuna Devi. (Indian Express 23/7/07) Walk-out over farmers’ suicide issue (20) BHOPAL: Congress legislators led by the Leader of the Opposition. 2007. But almost a year later.575 crore. While the remote sensing-based method is more appropriate for the hilly North-Eastern states. the state cabinet handed over relief implementation to Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) whose chairman. in reply to another query. Samiti president . and January 31. Prime among them is the Agricultural Census carried out once in five years — which is at present mired in logistical problems as the census data becomes obsolete by the time it is released. “However. They even did not allow the Chief Minister to respond to their supplementary queries. Shriram Kamble of Dahegaon in Amravati. But in January.” KMF said on May 18 this year. Dhondu Solanke of Ghota in Akola. in response to a query. JULY 22: It was to be immediate extra income for farmers in Karnataka to stop them from committing suicide out of penury. the House had been informed on February 21 that four farmers and 39 others had committed suicide due to debt between January 1. Vilas Tekade of Pimpri Purna in Amravati. and January 31. Anand Ghege of Eranda in Washim. were to be involved only in setting up milk chilling plants. the state had promised that it would achieve the year’s target at a lower spending of Rs 15. a total of 50 farmers had committed suicide in Madhya Pradesh. which is keeping a track of all farm suicides in the region. mostly from the six districts covered by the prime minister’s special relief package.Meghalaya. the state has not spent a single penny out of the Rs 16. It was specifically asked why. The Congress members protested as they were not satisfied with the reply to a written question relating to suicides by farmers in Madhya Pradesh. the Centre is also exploring other available tools. Hence. (The Hindu 24/7/07) 11 more farmers commit suicide (20) NAGPUR: The Vidarbha farmers suicide toll mounted to 551 with 11 more distressed cotton farmers.” Karnataka’s Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Services Commissioner endorsed on June 8.

BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said that farmers from all neighbouring States would assemble in the Capital for the August 20 rally and would march up to Parliament to lodge their protest against "anti-farmer" policies. therefore. It has sought an increase of Rs 100 in the MSP of all food commodities. The party would press the Government to extend farm loans at four per cent interest and put in place a minimum income guarantee scheme for farmers.Kishore Tiwari claimed that after introduction of costly Bt seeds and withdrawal of advance bonus under cotton monopoly procurement scheme two years ago. For. we are very much concerned about the same. We expect the concerned authorities at all levels to look into the issue without lapse of time considering the gravity of the situation and try to evolve a formula/package. VJAS has threatened to launch an agitation from August 15 to press for their demand to hike the minimum support price of cotton from Rs 2. there has been no looking back to better days for the cultivators. he added. (Pioneer 7/8/07) . Leader of Opposition LK Advani and BJP president Rajnath Singh will address the rally at Delhi's Ram Lila ground. a Nagpur-based division bench of the High Court. within the next 10 days. (Times of India 4/8/07) BJP's farmers rally to seek higher support price for crops (20) New Delhi : Reiterating its demand for a CBI probe into wheat import scam. Tiwari has urged the prime minister to intervene in the matter and review it to find an effective solution as the earlier relief package of Rs 3. Hearing a PIL filed by Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti chief Kishore Tiwari. education and aspiration of urbane lifestyles have only added to the distress sinking farmers deeper into debt burden and crisis. expressed serious concern about the recurring farmers' suicides in Vidarbha region and observed that the State Government did not seem to be very serious about the issue. Not satisfied with the State Government's say on the issues raised by the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti. HC to Maha Govt (20) Mumbai : A concerned Bombay High Court on Monday a took serious note of the Maharashtra Government's failure to deal effectively with the unabated farmer suicides in Vidarbha and directed the Vilasrao Deshmukh dispensation to furnish all details about its various policy initiatives to deal with the agrarian crisis in the backward region. which would benefit the farmers in distress and reduce their hardships.500. (Pioneer 4/8/07) File affidavit on Vidarbha suicides. the bench had observed: "So far as the issue of farmers suicides involved in the criminal writ petition is concerned it is undoubtedly very serious in nature and." The bench had accordingly directed the State Government to come with details of various schemes undertaken by it to deal with the farmers' crisis. It directed the Principal Secretary (Rehabilitation) to file a fresh affidavit carrying all the details within next 10 days. the HC division bench asked the Government to come with clarifications to specific queries like: "How much amount of farm loan/credit is made available to cotton growing farmers? What is the Government's credit policy for different regions in the State? What is the farm loan recovery policy being implemented in various regions? How the interest waiver scheme is being implemented? How the Crop Insurance Policy is being implemented in Vidarbha?" Earlier in the day. The HC bench agreed with the petitioner's contention that it did not have the relevant information pertaining to the farm loan/credit policy. comprising Justice Dilip Sinha and Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari. The BJP. "Input costs are growing by the day while income is shrinking and there is a virtual collapse in rural economy as costs of healthcare. which has sought resignation of Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar. the BJP on Friday announced that it would hold a farmers' rally and a protest march in New Delhi on August 20 to press for an increase in minimum support price for food commodities.000 per quintal to Rs 2. recovery policy and interest waiver schemes implemented for the cotton grower farmers of Vidarbha region.750 crore has failed to stem the spate of suicides in Vidarbha. Monday was the second occasion when the HC bench had taken the State Government to task on the Vidarbha agrarian crisis issue. has alleged that the Government ordered wheat import last month at much higher price than the tender it had rejected in May. the Government filed its affidavit through Lokesh Chandra. on July 13. Additional Divisional Commissioner and Director General of Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swalamban Mission (VNSSM). Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee." said Tiwari.

with the volume of products going up. Since agriculture is a state subject. Jajjar and Raigad spoke about the new corporate land grab and committed themselves to continue the defence of farmers land sovereignty. the Centre circulated the model Bill for states to adopt. According to a Government report. Agriculture produce in the country is bought and sold in the mandi which is a Government-regulated market. More than 1. for which regulatory changes like amending the Act is needed. Activists feel that Indian farmers have produced adequate food for the country through their knowledge. 20: Farmers and activists concerned about food security and sovereignty in the country are opposed to the ambitious Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and are planning largescale protests in various parts to oppose this Indo-Japan joint venture. • Is contract farming part of this? A separate chapter has been included in the legislation to regulate and promote contract farming which is essentially an arrangement between the buyer and the growers before a crop is grown. Ms Shiva said. Uttar Pradesh has been the latest to introduce the reforms. The Indian Express reported that the Mayawati Government has amended the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee Act. Cold storage units exist only in 9 per cent of the markets and grading facilities exist in less than one-third of the markets. activists plan stir (20) New Delhi. "Most that 40 per cent of the children are underweight and one third of the world’s hungry children are in India. Uttar Pradesh. thus preventing distress sales. skills and hard work. Rajasthan. She said such large scale acquisitions for industralisation in fertile farm lands will seriously affect farmers in these states and threaten the food security in our country. they alleged. produce will no longer need to be sold exclusively in mandis.230 crore in the next Plan is required for infrastructure. only one-fourth of the markets have drying yards. This will change the way farmers in the state operated till now. Aug." Farmers and representatives of movements from Nandigram. Madhya Pradesh.50. • Does this benefit the farmer? The farmer will have several options to sell his produce. All transactions are done in the market yard after a payment of a mandi fee. A major portion of this investment is expected from the private sector. Dadri. • What is the need to amend the APMC Act? In order to make marketing efficient. They warned that a new movement will be launched against DMIC from Dadri in Uttar Pradesh to Mumbai and Raigad in Maharastra and also all along the stretch of the proposed corridor. paving the way for private investment in agriculture. The draft model legislation provides for establishment of private markets. With the Government deciding to amend the Agriculture Produce Marketing Act (APMC). Gurgaon. Founder of Navdanya Vandana Shiva said the corridor passes through the most fertile land of Haryana. But they have been pushed into debt and destruction but the policies of the government. She was speaking about DMIC and other issues concerning farmers at the two day National Convention on Food Sovereignty. the mandi system has been unable to cope with the pressure. Nyamgiri. direct purchase centres.Farmers. • Why cannot private companies invest without the amendment of the APMC Act? They have to procure agricultural commodities directly from fields to link farm production and the retail chain or food processing units." Half of the country is going hungry due to the distorted policies of trade liberalisation which benefit corporations but punish the small farmers. An estimated investment of Rs. He may choose to store his perishables in a cold storage or his grains in a warehouse and sell at a later date. Contract farming can ensure a farmer an assured market . SEZ’s and DMIC threaten farmers livelihoods and the nations food security. Large investments are needed to modernise the system. She said. farmers markets for direct sale and promotion of publicprivate partnership in the management of agricultural markets.12. • What is the need for private investment in agriculture marketing system? There is a considerable gap in the facilities available in the market yards. Gujarat and Maharastra. the country’s food and nutritional security is under threat with 80 per cent of children in the country suffering from anaemia. said Ms Shiva.000 farmers have committed suicide. POSCO. "The first threat to food security and food sovereignty is the threat of fertile farms land. here. Over the years. While farmers are displaced or forced to suicide. Farmers do not get a price for their perishables and nearly 30 per cent of it is wasted. (Asian Age 21/8/07) Amended Act opens up options for farmers (20) On Monday. large investments are required for the development of post harvest and cold chain infrastructure nearer to the fields.

the UPA Government is all set to announce the much awaited National Policy for Farmers (NPF)-2007 in the current session of Parliament. Amravati. will be sorted out before the Government announces its policy. Rajasthan. Yavatmal and Wardha — as per official records. Nagaland. Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh have undertaken reforms partially by amending APMC Act through an Ordinance. he will have reason to hold out hope: nature and “nurture” have worked together to bring down farmer suicides and push up farm the end of the season. • What will the marketing committees do in the changed scenario? They will act as regulators and ensure the validity of contracts and make sure that the private markets yards are paying their fees. 332. power. In this context. biodiversity. the policy envisages a relook at various schemes operated by departments of rural development. The sources confirmed that the NPF was considered in Thursday’s Cabinet meeting. Washim. land resources. • Which states have amended the APMC Act? Madhya Pradesh. Sources said the Finance Ministry had expressed its opinion against the universalisation of PDS. it’s not necessary that the farmer should have committed suicide for his family to become eligible. and climate resources essential for raising productivity. however. Maharashtra and Chandigarh have notified reforms in their APMC Act. They will promote standardisation. Anyone in the family committing suicide is the criterion. August 23: After launching Food Security Mission (worth about Rs 4900 crore) and Additional Central Assistance (Rs 25000 crore) for agriculture sector. Orissa. In a move that indicates the Government’s concern over agrarian crisis. This year. there are some NCF recommendations that might not find favour with the Government as there could be objections from quarters within the Government. it will replace the existing National Agricultural Policy-2000. “agrarian” suicides — due to indebtedness and crop failure — are down. The overall suicide tally in the six districts — Akola. between January and June. quality certification. Likely to be framed on the lines of other Cabinet committees like the ones on economic affairs and security. water. at a price known to him from before. So confident is the Maharashtra . The policy will contain implementable features related to land. is down from 760 in the first seven months of 2006 to 664 in the same period this year — a dip of 13 per cent. Highly placed Government sources told The Indian Express that an inter-ministerial committee will be constituted to look into their programmes for the purpose of effective operationalisation of the NPF. Himachal Pradesh. (Indian Express 21/8/07) Centre set to announce National Policy for Farmers this session (20) NEW DELHI. However. Chhattisgarh. an NGO which regularly releases suicide figures to the media. Buldana. Incidentally. Significantly. Arunachal Pradesh. Sikkim. were classified as agrarian suicides. Once announced. and water resources to bring them in alignment to meet the objectives of the new policy. These things. market led extension and training of farmers. as suggested in the NCF. the government’s tally is drawn from police records and is higher than the number released by the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti. grading. setting up of Gram Panchayat Mahila Fund and Livestock Feed and Fodder Corporation. building a Market Intervention Fund and the separation of Minimum Support Price from procurement where the Government can procure from market at prices higher than the MSP. The government’s data is as per “suicide eligibility” norms recommended by Mumbai’s Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research (IGIDR). Although these are “dynamic” figures — revised upward after official scrutiny of each case — the total number. which was constituted by the UPA Government soon after coming to power in 2004. Haryana. the policy includes a proposal to set up a Cabinet Committee on Food Security (CCFS). too. the number until June is only 90. Punjab. Of these. Karnataka. AUGUST 25 : As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrives here next week one year after he announced a package for distressed farmers in six cotton-producing districts. The samiti’s figures for the same period are 605 for all the 11 districts of Vidarbha.(Indian Express 24/8/07) In Vidarbha’s darkness. Of the 1448 suicides last year. power. profitability and stability of the agricultural sector as suggested by the National Commission of Farmers (NCF). the proposed CCFS will deal with subjects related with providing policy guidelines for developing and implementing a socially and economically sustainable food security programmes and the agriculture sector in the country. Andhra Pradesh. the first glimmer: farmer suicides down (20) NAGPUR. will be significantly lower than that of last year. officials say.

Srijit Mishra. 29: Contract farming is being carried out on more than 400.7 lakh tonnes. rather than restricting it to one year. 59. 1.000 hectares across the country.610 hectares under contract farming in Tamil Nadu. Cotton saw a bumper harvest — as against about 9.2 lakh cotton bales last year. Pepsi. Foodpro and Mohan Breweries and Distilleries are major agencies involved in contract farming. Markfed Punjab. J K Paper. (Indian Express 26/8/07) ‘Contract farming informal’ (20) New Delhi. based on information supplied by different states. Godrej Agro Escorts. Moreover. “One of the major lacunae in the farm package is non-availability of credit to defaulters this year. “Whatever agrarian suicides that are now being witnessed are mainly because of high cost of cultivation on small land-holdings. A. he said the government was considering bringing amendments to the Land Acquisition Act. Currently. say officials. said: “Some steps have been initiated and things have started moving in a positive direction. Add to this good rains that led to an unprecedented spurt in rabi production and lucrative prices for soyabean. have been asked to adopt cost-effective methods for recharge of groundwater and to prioritise addressing arsenic and fluoride problems. production this year was 15. That is the reason why we need to have continued at least the interest-waiver for three to four years. however. “Since agricultural gains and losses are a cyclic process.471 crore (March 2007). The data. ITC.government of the accuracy of its data that it has asked IGIDR to independently validate it. Soyabean figures for the two years were 7. the matter is being examined by a group of ministers (GoM) to finalise the draft of the rehabilitation and resettlement policy. rural development minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh informed the House. and revising the national policy on resettlement and rehabilitation of project-affected families. (Asian Age 30/8/07) . 1.125 last year.2 lakh.800 in Orissa. • Significantly. Aug. they are not supposed to repay their old debts until two years from now and even after that. Cadbury India. he said. Another Rs 130 crore came in as relief against natural calamities.924 in Goa and 20 in Bihar. The law provides that an applicant seeking employment under the NREGA will be entitled to a daily unemployment allowance if he or she gets no job within 15 days. attributed by authorities mainly to the huge spurt in the use of Bt cotton. 12 lakh farmers got relief worth Rs 400 crore as reimbursements of their deposits with the Cotton Federation. was informal in nature as yet. interest waiver and moratorium on loan repayment for two years to schemes like funding of farmers’ daughter’s marriages and checks on private money-lenders.5 and 11. • Early this year. rabi area (2 lakh hectares in 05-06) went up three times (6 lakh hectares in 06-07) due to the soil retaining moisture after a good monsoon. Maxworth Orchards. 2. they can pay in instalments.490 per quintal this year compared to Rs 1. All this has translated into several positive indicators: • Substantial increase in rural deposits from Rs 4. The Union minister cited state-wise data that showed 2. attributing this year’s improvement to policy interventions over the last one year in the form of packages from both the state and the Centre: availability of credit. who did the IGIDR study on Vidarbha’s suicides. • Farmers got an interest waiver of over Rs 700 crore. as per Lead Bank Managers’ report. Sungrow. Thomas Natural Products.000 crore was disbursed in Rs 200607. showed a total 425.457 in Punjab.834 hectares under contract farming across the country. respectively — fetching an average price of Rs 1. gains made in one year can be washed out the next year if monsoon and markets aren’t good. Hafed. BILT. WIMCO. But officials are keeping their fingers crossed. The GoM is also examining associated legislative measures in cases relating to land acquisition for consideration of the Cabinet. the Radhakrishnan Committee that looked into farmers’ indebtedness did recommend continuation of interest-waiver facility so that farmers continue to get fresh loans.” says Amravati Divisional Commissioner S K Goel. The activity.” Certainly.36.5 lakh to 10 lakh. On unemployment allowance. Union minister of state for rural development Chandra Sekhar Sahu said in the Rajya Sabha that Hindustan Lever. Rs 2. Reliance Agrotech.” said one of them who did not wish to be named.543 crore in March 2006 to Rs 5. • Compared to Rs 750 crore given in loans in 2005-06.V.000 in Gujarat. the government has received 93 complaints from 15 states regarding irregularities in the implementation of the national rural employment guarantee act. which is fast replacing cotton as the main crop in these districts. Speaking to The Sunday Express.” In fact. • Number of farmers getting loans went up from 4. Nature also has helped but the crisis will need to be addressed in a sustained manner.21. United Breweries. DCM Sriram. On land acquisition. The states. 1894.

up to August 10. The government’s track record in buying cotton was reducing every year and this must improve. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will review the Rs. suicide on August 21 The Ades have no agriculural land. increasing irrigation potential and expediting pending projects. Hindu 31/8/07) How facts die in Vidarbha’s suicide count (20) Nagpur.” the note concludes. Yavatmal Collector Abha Shukla says Ade wasn’t a farmer and the reason for his suicide is not known. apart from water shed development and horticulture. 20. 2006. Even if they paid this amount now the suicides would not stop. he admitted.500 farmers killed themselves. Yavatmal dist). waiver of interest. he said.448 out of which 577 cases were found to be due to agrarian distress.Claims of reduction in farmer suicides disputed (20) MUMBAI: On the eve of an official review of the Prime Minister’s special rehabilitation package for farmers of Vidarbha. This year. travelling over 1. The special rehabilitation package was announced for six districts of Vidarbha — Amravati. The government had to ensure that loans were waived completely in a phased manner and also give incentives to reduce the cultivation cost of cotton. The package consists of relief measures in the form of ex-gratia assistance for health and education. 2. He used to work as a farm labourer. Status: Non-agrarian suicide . Akola. 700 hundred cases were reported. • Uddhav Ade. He said it was a good idea to create an organic cotton zone in Vidarbha to help farmers. “Uddhav had no debt. Kishore Tiwari of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti who has been tracking the suicides. increasing credit flow. SEPTEMBER 1: The Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti which regularly trots out farmer suicide figures in Vidarbha announced a startling list of 10 farmer suicides in 24 hours last week. (One suicide is from Gondia. According to the latest update on the package. His father Tukaram refuses to talk about his son’s death. However. the suicide rate is reduced to almost half compared to what it was prior to the implementation of the package. a farmer was killing himself and the Prime Minister’s package had done nothing to change the situation. covering the region from Nagpur to Buldana to trace eight of the nine cases in the crisis belt. We don’t know why he committed suicide. agriculture extension. The State government’s refusal to pay the promised Rs. 1.” the official note said. This came days after the number of suicides showed a dip thanks to government intervention. The Sunday Express investigated the Jan Andolan Samiti list of farmer suicides.80 crore was spent. which is not part of the PM’s package. along with Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and senior officials and Ministers. During 2006. Buldana.02 crore was made available for different programmes under the package and till July 2007 end.” says a villager. Washim and Wardha — to be implemented from 2006 to 2009. On Friday in Mumbai.) The newspaper found that the suicides happened over six days and only two of them were related to the agrarian crisis. the total number of suicide cases reported was 1.795. voluntary groups are protesting against the Maharashtra government’s claims that suicides have come down and say the package is not the answer to the severe agrarian crisis in the region. 621 cases were inquired into by the district level committees and 106 cases were found to be due to “agrarian distress.750crore package announced on July 1. Yavatmal. Rs. 10. said an official note on the package.000 farmers committed suicide and there was complete apathy on the part of the government and political parties on this issue. Marwadi (Pusad. 3.700 a quintal of cotton was dishonoured. However. reported by this newspaper last Sunday—and two days before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to review the progress of the National Development Council’s new farm programme. Every eight hours.784.400 km. 2. he said. told journalists here that there were 771 suicides so far this year as per the government’s own records. Out of this. Since the package was announced over a year ago. providing loans for alternative income from dairy. It has to give the farmer good price protection as promised in the Congress party’s election manifesto. “On what basis was the government saying they had reduced. “As a result of the successful implementation of both the State and Central government packages.” he asked. 1. good rains and a bumper crop. Over seven years. so far Rs.

all married and working in local hotels. (Chikhli.” says motherin-law Aasrabai. His parents. Ganeshpur Sinchan (Pandharkawda. Status: Non-agrarian suicide • Deorao Baghale. 25. “We gave him a lot of medical treatment and were again going to take him to doctor but he chose to do this. Wife Surekha is too dazed to say why her husband committed suicide. Fulsing’s Yavatmal Dist Central Co-operative Bank passbook shows a fresh loan of Rs 18. That’s why he committed suicide by jumping into a well. suicide on August 26 Ramrao had two acres of land and had given away the rest to his four sons in partition. Yavatmal dist).” she says. work as farm labourers. Gangadhar and Suman. a student of BE in Mumbai’s VJTI. He often used to create a scene at the house. says he had “about Rs 12. Undri. was married just three months ago and had no agricultural land in his name. Ramdhan’s widow Surekha says: “He said he had taken a lot of money from people. “He didn’t speak of any problem.” says his mother Suman. His irritability had grown of late. He was my most beloved child. but he never tilled that and preferred to work in a butcher’s shop in Pandhakawda. Shiroli (Ghatanji.” Ramdhan had a share of two acres in his father Supdaji Chinchole’s land.” Ramrao hanged himself in his house where he stayed alone. however. “He had lost his mental balance and used to say he had pain in the back of his head. One of the beneficiaries of last year’s credit relief. Asked if they had any loan burden. Akola).000.” says the mother.” Status: Non-agrarian suicide • Devidas Rathod. they have a concrete house under Indira Awas Yojana. suicide on August 25 Devidas. “We don’t know the details. 70. “no” . His parents Yashodabai and Fulsing say they have no idea why he ended his life.000 for 2007-08. We said. 25.• Ramdhan Chinchole. He had no government loan to repay but his son Anil says he used to say he had loans. “He had become a bit emotional after his daughter Panchkula had died after getting caught in a thresher three years ago. His family. suicide on August 26 The Chaudharys have no agricultural land and work as farm labourers. His father Fulsing has three dryland acres that grow cotton and tuar. Ramdhan’s brother-in-law Santosh Rajgade. Belonging to Sarode community of fortune-tellers. He was addicted to liquor and patte (playing cards). suicide on August 25 Deorao has a share in the ancestral land at the nearby Usalmusal village. suicide on August 24 Ramdhan hanged himself at his in-laws’ place in the nearby Warwant village. He had gone there along with wife—to work on father-in-law Chintaman’s farm. 50. Deorao’s two daughters are married and wife Kausalyabai works as a farm labourer. It’s all because of liquor. Sakhra (Wardha dist). Government records show a rescheduled loan of Rs 4.000 government loan to repay. from the Banjara community. says: “I tell you there is no other reason. But the next morning. Status: Non-agrarian suicide • Ravindra Chaudhary. His sons say he used to have his meals with them and there was no dispute. After . Manatri (Telhara.” Anil is among the Deorao’s three sons. They have no pending credit burden. “He was heavily drunk on the day he consumed poison. “He had asked us for Rs 5.500 in his account for the current year (Source: Akola collector’s report). they say. Yavatmal dist). Buldana dist). we saw him hanging. 24. we will give it tomorrow morning. Status: Non-agrarian suicide • Ramrao Daberao.” he says.

” his son Shriram says. The additional amount that the government was spending was a subsidy for imports. Why he committed suicide isn’t known when his old loan had been rescheduled. have not been addressed in the Prime Minister’s package. on his recent visit to Maharashtra.000 crores for the quantities of wheat being imported. The dependency being created on imported wheat. Ms Shiva. there was no tagada (pestering for repayment) and he had got another Rs 8. But much more. it can’t be called as suicide due to loan pressure. They contended that review of the special package by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his Mumbai visit over the weekend. noted that the Prime Minister.” Status: Non-agrarian suicide • Kisan Meshram. only in the cotton-growing Vidarbha region. MPs from the Vidarbha region have said. The agriculture minister has announced that imports will continue next year. The Akola Collector’s report says. Akola). He was affected by last year’s deluge that washed away his farm. says social activist Vandana Shiva. “He is technically qualified for being declared an agrarian suicide since he fits the norms for compensation.000-crore agricultural package. indicating that his family may be due for government compensation of Rs 1 lakh for agrarian suicides.000 per ton and sell it to the poor at Rs 5. her married son Purushottam died due to electric shock. Ms Vandana Shiva. was based on two levels of subsidies related to imports. Sept.000-crore package for farmers in 2006. There were reports of tribals in Maharashtra falling ill after the imported wheat was distributed. Sept.that. despite adequate domestic production. This price. Ms Vandana Shiva said. (Indian Express 2/9/07) ‘Farmer suicides went up after ’06’ (20) New Delhi." (Asian Age 3/9/07) Vidarbha MPs critical of PM package (20) New Delhi.000 per tonne. "The agriculture agreement is as much a threat to India’s sovereignty as the nuclear agreement. Son Ravindra says Kisan appeared disturbed over the past few days. Indian farmers are being paid Rs 8. had now announced a Rs 25. “He used to ask us. was being spent as subsidies on MNCs. Ms Shiva said. hence the import subsidy will keep increasing.” an official said. Navdanaya said the high-cost low-quality wheat was being imported for the public distribution system since the government had failed to procure low-cost high-quality wheat domestically. ‘how I will repay the loan. This "irrational and unjustified" import of wheat at double the domestic cost was a direct fallout of the US-India agriculture agreement that was signed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with the nuclear agreement in July 2005. The family also claims he was upset as his farm had been hit by the floods. To import wheat at Rs 17.000 per ton adds another annual subsidy burden of almost Rs 60. founder of Navdanya. What is perplexing is that while three other states also had witnessed a spate of suicides by farmers.000 this year as fresh loan. she claims. Farmers continue to be trapped in a cycle of dependency on unreliable and costly corporate seeds. The preliminary inquiry by the Akola Collector says he was distressed due to a decade-old loan burden of Rs 42. says that there are two basic causes behind these suicides — high costs of inputs and low prices of agricultural produce. suicide on August 25 Kisan jumped into a village well on Saturday. which goes to MNCs such as Cargill. 58. who has just returned from Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region and had visited Yavatmal. she claimed. Yeranda (Barshi Takli. the report says.000. the distress suicides of farmers remain unabated. These. she added. It is part of the US strategy to use food as a weapon. the heart of the so-called "suicide belt". 2: Farmers’ suicides have increased sharply since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a Rs 4.500 per tonne as minimum support price. Wheat for the poor is being provided at Rs 5 per kg. “since he had taken loan for he current year. was also constantly increasing. while the price of cotton had fallen and the government had withdrawnfrom procurement altogether. 2: Plight of the Vidarbha farmers will not change until their loans with cooperative and other banks are not written off at least once. which need more and more chemical inputs in the form of fertilisers and pesticides.000-17. but in the international market the government was buying wheat at Rs 16. is not going to have any favourable impact on .’” he says.

one of the districts where distress suicides have been rampant. Germany and Russia. This forms a vicious circle. As the region receives very meagre rainfall and irrigation is very less. This means that it is better to be a poor person in Botswana or the occupied territories of Palestine.” Another contrast he brought out pertained to foodgrains intake. 20 a day as per government data. Adding to their vows. "Since the crop loans are not written off and are only rescheduled. who charge an exorbitant rate of interest unbearable by farmers. MP from Yavatmal. no other crop can be grown here.the situation. Sainath said India had the fourth highest number of dollar-billionaires in the world. the banks recovered their interests at the first opportunity and declined to disburse new loans. The state government is giving only 50 per cent subsidy on seed. For instance. Ironically enough." "Vidarbha farmers have no alternative but to grow cotton. he said. there are Indian realities. The failure of the Special Package. about Rs 800 crores benefited banks as the interest on loans was waived off. Even in the milch cows subsidy scheme. behind only the United States. MNCs have greatly misled farmers on cotton seeds. Loans of minimum Rs 1 lakh and more shall be given. About Rs 70 crores allocated for building check dams in the fields will go to contractors only.” Though India was an emerging tiger economy. “It seems appalling to me that we can clear an SEZ in six months but we cannot do land reforms in 60 years across this country!” He drew the attention of Parliamentarians to the growing expenditure on health as India now had the sixth most privatised health system in the world. There were unconfirmed reports of redrafting of the Vidarbha package. the crop will simply collapse and there will be zero yield and farmers cannot bear the loss. was the closure of as many as 3. he said in 1997-2002. we are 126th in human development. disbursing loans of Rs 50. is largely because the funds are not reaching farmers’ pockets but to the banks and the contractors involved in irrigation projects. India added more newly hungry millions than the rest of the world taken together. According to him. Dr Singh asked the Maharashtra government to adopt "differentiated agricultural strategies" to remove regional imbalances in the state. banks will not give a second loan as they remain defaulters even after loans are rescheduled.000 will not do." Mr Geete said. Reeling out chilling statistics which revealed how India remained a land of poverty amidst plenty. large scale corruption is taking place. Ratnagiri Lok Sabha member Anant Geete (Shiv Sena) told this newspaper. land reforms had been carried out properly by only a handful of States.500 banks in the rural areas — without which there would have been no Green Revolution in the first place — between 1993 and 2002. Harisingh Rathod. The last 15 years – which saw unprecedented prosperity among the rich – witnessed a decline in foodgrains intake. they go to private money lenders. adding that “there is no such thing as Indian reality. taking production cost into account and loans disbursal at lower interest rates. life expectancy here was lower than in Bolivia — the poorest country of Latin America — Kazakhstan and Mongolia. suggested three immediate measures: "Increase of irrigation facilities. Member of Parliament from Akola Sanjay Shyamrao Dhotre (BJP) said: "The Rs 3. no special package can come to their rescue. both of which show superior human development indicators than India. out of which small and marginal farmers of the region cannot escape. Why have over one lakh farmers killed themselves in the last decade?’ in Parliament House. Sainath regretted the slow pace of tenancy reforms in the country. Mr. Hence. A new restaurant opens every day in some city of this country but the average rural family is consuming 100 kg less than it did 10-15 years ago because that is the food availability situation. of the Rs 1. ." (Asian Age 3/9/07) “Farmer suicides the symptom” (20) NEW DELHI: The crisis in the farm sector is a national one and not restricted to some States. However. India may have 100. Another alarming phenomenon. as viewed by Opposition MPs." Mr Dhotre felt unless farmers are helped out by agriculture department officials.000 dollar millionaires but 800 million in this country existed on less than Rs. the Prime minister’s package says that the interests on loans shall be recovered in five instalments that too after first two years. In 2006. said Magsaysay awardee and Rural Affairs Editor of The Hindu P. Also. Sainath while deliverin g a lecture on ‘Farm Crisis. if there is unseasonal rain. he said. hike minimum support price of cotton. It is also widely believed that the Maharashtra government has not gone by the guidelines of the Prime Minister’s package.750 crore package is spread over three years. Quoting from the atlas of food security of the Food and Agriculture Organisation. The suicides are just the symptom not the disease. “Hunger grew at a time when it declined in Ethiopia.” Mr. “But.721 crores.

At least 16 of them had killed themselves either for financial reasons or for crop failure. and April 30. the information provided to the applicant does not always mention the reasons for suicide and other details like address of the deceased. The families of Mansukh Mer and Dhana Gohil. It also stated that at least one farmer. Speaking to this newspaper. Meanwhile. mentions Kawa Begad as the only farmer from the district to have killed himself following crop failure. "The situation of farmers in eastern Vidarbha has been worse off. Buldhana. The five eastern districts which were not considered for the package are . on Thursday. "The situation in the eastern districts is bad as in the western Vidarbha and the poor tribals are living in the eastern districts only. Shishupal Patle (Bhandara) among others. Bhavnagar police have put on record that at least 23 farmers committed suicide in the district between January 2003 and April 2007. Bhandara and Nagpur. Gadchiroli. Narmada and Dahod districts. Meanwhile. Gadchiroli and Gondia districts have been naxal-infested and hence cultivation and employment opportunities never received a fillip.while banks have systematically withdrawn from credit for the rural areas. State Information Commissioner R N Das said that while the police made some serious efforts in collecting the data. but is withholding the incentive bonus already announced. now demand that these five districts shall also be included in the special package. (Indian Express 8/9/07) Left-out Vidarbha areas want share of package (20) New Delhi. Also. Mahadev Shivankar. 2003. that the two had committed suicide after crop failure last year. told The Indian Express during a visit there last month. Gujarat Police on August 23 admitted that at least 366 farmers had committed suicide across 15 districts between January 1. (The Hindu 7/9/07) RTI reveals fresh suicides (20) Ahmedabad.” Das said. Gandchiroli. which form part of the western Vidarbha region. with fresh data from Bhavnagar made available. committed suicide due to crop failure in 2006. the number of farmers committing suicide in Gujarat in this period has touched 389. including Hansraj Ahir (Chandrapur). The main crop in these districts has been paddy and due to . Sept. Bhavnagar. 9: This is the story of the other half of Vidarbha region. However. Not including them in the Prime Minister's special package smacks of bias and there is a wide spread feeling that this is gross injustice on the part of the government. however. Chandrapur.Chandrapur. Gondia. 2007. like Wardha MP Suresh Wagmare are also signatories to the memorandum. Narmada and Dahod are provided. they are increasingly wooing the upper middle classes. Gondia and Bhandara are dotted by hills and the irrigation and employment needs of this area has been neglected for the past 25 years. The MPs from the five districts of Vidarbha. Interestingly. The government monopoly in procurement of cotton has been saddled in corruption and farmers across the whole region have been victims of this. Districts of Chandrapur. the State Information Commission has directed the Gujarat Police to update information and fill the gaps before the next hearing on September 10. during the second hearing on the petition before the State Information Commission. Washim. Police records. an Ahmedabad-based activist. will submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday. The state government is giving only the minimum support price announced. farmers from the same village. requesting him to see that the other five districts are also included under his special package. The number is likely to cross the 400-mark once information on the same from districts of Banaskantha." The memorandum alleged that the distress districts were identified based on the false information provided by the Maharashtra state government to the Centre. Parliament members of the BJP. which were not included in the Prime Minister's special package for farmers facing agricultural distress.Wardha. Parliament members of Vidarbha districts that are receiving the packaged funds. “The police department has been asked to update these information and provide the same to Jhala. Yavatmal. Kawa Begad from Madia in Bhavnagar taluka. The six Vidarbha districts getting the package are . Akola and Amravati. police handed over the information on Bhavnagar district. September 7: In a response to a petition filed under the RTI Act by Bharatsinh Jhala. Chandrapur Lok Sabha member Hansraj Ahir said. The MPs are planning to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and submit a memorandum to this effect. The reply had also mentioned that there was “nil information” on Banaskantha." the memorandum said. Agriculture in the eastern region is dependent only on rains just as the western Vidarbha. It may also be noted here that in a response to the RTI application filed by Jhala.

"They sprinkle water on cotton or insert stones in cotton bales [to increase weight] before bringing the produce to procurement centres. commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and published in 2005. I did not see a single farmer working in his field. (Asian Age 12/9/07) . The mainly tribal-inhabited Gadchiroli district has very less number of industries." Mr Vaghela said. SEPTEMBER 9: With nearly 78 per cent of the total rural households engaged in farming activity. who have been mandated to take decisions that are aimed at benefiting the agricultural sector in the state. Mr Vaghela had said. had suggested that there was an urgent need to address the economic situation in the rural areas. The decision was taken after a report released by the Chhattisgarh Human Development stated that only 1.At the Akola conference. Agriculture Minister Megha Ram Sahu rebuffed the Congress allegations. had a cost advantage and 75 per cent of their farms were irrigated. The main drawback as pointed out by industrialists is lack of a railway line passing through this area.” said Karma. chew tobacco but after that they go to work in fields but the farmers here in Vidarbha sit idly. "It was absurd to compare the farmers of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Chief Minister Raman Singh is the chairman of the commission and Agriculture Minister Megha Ram Sahu is its vice-chairperson. just like farmers here. leaves the eastern Vidarbha farmers sell their paddy at a price quite less than its production cost. the memorandum lamented. The formation of Chhattisgarh Farmers’ Welfare Commission had faced flak from the Opposition Congress. the Raman Singh Cabinet has approved the creation of Chhattisgarh Farmers’ Welfare Commission. which is aimed at improving the state’s agriculture sector.5 per cent farmers were familiar with modern agricultural practices like use of modern equipment. despite being home to huge mineral wealth. "While flying to Akola [in a helicopter]." He advised the farmers of Maharashtra to go to Gujarat and see for themselves the practice there. chemical fertilisers and HYV seeds. Mr Vaghela is at the receiving end for calling debtridden." Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said. "There are power cuts in Gujarat and Maharashtra. “Instead of forming the commission. The farmers in Gujarat. (Asian Age 10/9/07) Farmer panel gets Raman Singh’s green signal (20) RAIPUR. However. What can the government do in this situation? You must try and emulate the farmers of Gujarat. Gujarat farmers were using local seeds. The effigies of Mr Vaghela were burned as a mark of protest in the dying fields of Vidarbha where more than 5.000 cotton farmers committed suicide due to the agrarian crisis. 11: The comment of Union textile minister Shankarsinh Vaghela that Vidarbha farmers are lazy and the even more insulting comment of Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh that Vidarbha cotton farmers are dishonest has resulted in protests in parts of rural Vidarbha. suicidal cotton growers of Vidharbha "lazy and incompetent"." said Mr Tiwari. The commission will have 40 members. unlike the situation in Maharashtra. Mr Tiwari criticised the minister for "rubbing salt into the wounds of the farming community".very low irrigation facilities. Leader of Opposition in Chhattisgarh Assembly Mahendra Karma said the Government was forced to initiate this step in an effort to garner its vote bank in the backward districts of the state. which alleged the move to be ‘politically motivated’. the Government should introduce modern methods of cultivation and develop irrigation resources in tribal areas. only dry land paddy cultivation takes place. This in turn. Mr Tiwari also took exception to Mr Deshmukh’s sarcastic remark at the conference that nobody should think Vidharbha farmers were not innovative. keeping in mind the upcoming Assembly elections. (Indian Express 10/9/07) Vidarbha protest over remarks (20) Nagpur. stating that there weren’t any hidden political motives behind the formation of the commission and the basic objective was to take speedy steps towards giving a thrust to the agriculture sector. Sept." Mr Tiwari said. huge debt and complete failure of civil and social administration in the region are the most common reasons of these farm suicides said Mr Kishor Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti. He demanded an apology from Mr Vaghela and also Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Pradesh Congress chief Prabha Rau. The report. "At present our chief minister is not taken seriously because of his known anti-cotton farmer stand. Central government announces MSP based on the productivity in water-rich states of Punjab and Haryana. The frequent crop failure and collapse of cotton prices.

Piraji Chikne of Tembhi (all Yavatmal district). (Indian Express 15/9/07) Nine farmers commit suicide (20) NAGPUR: Nine farmers from different parts of Vidarbha. Gajanan Sarule of Kalugoan. some farmers had done an “experiment” by sprinkling water but it did not benefit either the federation or the farmers. At a cotton traders’ conference at Akola on September 9. the CM was reported to have said that Vidarbha farmers sprinkled water or put stones in their cotton bales (to increase weight) when they brought it to traders for sale. It had created a political storm with the Opposition parties. Tiwari has demanded urgent steps to provide food security. which claims to be keeping a tab on the situation. the CM was let off the hook with a mild rebuke. Satish Hagey of Danapur and Bandu Kale of Pilkheda. He said that thousands of people would participate in a march on October 2 to protest against the anti-farmer policy of the government. According to VJAS president Kishore Tiwari.840-km padayatra. SEPTEMBER 14: Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh looked set to ride over the latest storm over his controversial remarks purportedly questioning the honesty of Vidarbha’s cotton farmers. Chunilal Raut of Goregaon in Gondia. Dnyaneshwar Wasnik of Kapustalni and Ram Wankhede of Sirasgaon-Pandhari in Amravati district. The deceased include: Naresh Gomase of Pimpari Ghadge village. None of the parties are coming out with a solution to redress the hardship of Vidarbha farmers.” he told reporters. With this. Deshmukh called on Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday with the transcript of his controversial speech at Akola and explained to her how a particular sentence had been quoted out of context. there is an urgent need for government intervention to bail out millions of farmers living in acute hardship because the wrong agricultural policies of the state and the Central governments had pushed the farmer to the brink. as also his detractors in the Congress. have allegedly committed suicide during the last three days. including six from Yavatmal district. “She asked me to be careful. he alleged. launching a frontal attack on him for “insulting” suicide-prone Vidarbha farmers. Tiwari said. At a meeting with the Congress High Command on Friday. The VJS said 821 farmers have committed suicide since January 1 this year in Maharashtra's cotton growing region. Tiwari also alleged that political parties were shedding crocodile tears over the 'insult' of cotton farmers by Union textiles minister Shankersinh Vaghela and chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. an NGO said on Friday. the number of suicides has mounted to 836 this year. farmers from Medak to go on fast in Delhi (20) . rubbished these charges and said that when cotton used to be brought to the federation. Hemraj Gajbhiye of AdgoanKhaki. crop loss and mounting debts. The transcript also contained Union Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela’s speech purportedly calling Vidarbha farmers lazy. however. Devanand Meshram of Ranji in Gadchiroli. (Times of India 15/9/07) 9 more ryots end life in Vidarbha (20) NAGPUR: Nine more farmer suicides were reported in the last four days. health care facilities. Deshmukh’s detractors—a dozen MLAs led by Narayan Rane—however. Bhaulal Tahod of Parsoda in Budhana.Vidarbha remark: Deshmukh let off after a warning from Sonia (20) NEW DELHI. Sonia “cautioned” Deshmukh against making any public remarks that could wash out the positive results of the PM’s package for Vidarbha and “damage” the party politically. total waiver of outstanding loans of the farmers in distressed areas and a higher price for cotton. Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJS) president Kishore Tiwari said in a statement. The nine farmers were identified as Devidas Urfate of Ugawa village. all three from Akola district. Ramesh Kawade of Alipur in Wardha. Sonia had met Rane and state Congress chief Prabha Rau separately. Deshmukh. Purushottam Meshram of Khairgoan. said Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS). Mohan Rathod of Khamkhed (Buldana). I will remain the CM. Santosh Wakudkar of Dhanora (Washim) and Ulhas Rathod of in Devraguda (Chandrapur). As long as Soniaji has confidence in me. It was like an advice. most of whom are victims of poverty. Tulsiram Rathod of Waijara. (Times of India 23/9/07) After 1. maintained that the CM was not off the hook yet because after meeting Deshmukh. Also on Gandhi Jayanti day thousands of people are expected to express solidarity with Indian farmers in over 50 cities in the US as well as five cities in India.

Hundreds of tribal farmers from the district. With this. where more than 1. Santosh Hungane of Amravati.NEW DELHI: Shocked at the suicide by a sugarcane grower. Vasant Kumar. Mr.” To raise the problems and common grievances of farmers in the country. Haryana and Delhi. do not want to give up farming — as the government keeps quoting National Sample Survey Organisation statistics — and have vowed to make farming and farmers “respectable. He. to study if the suicides were linked to genetic reasons and not the agrarian crisis. and others like him. thanks to spurious seeds. Ramesh Kale of Kalamb. "But instead of giving food security to these dying tribal farmers. the first in their village in Medak district.” Mr." said Tiwari in a press release. The long “padayatra” confirmed their fears — that farmers are in distress everywhere. yet he has no respect and is exploited. (Times of India 29/9/07) Debt-ridden farmer ends life (20) . bonding with their counterparts in Maharashtra. thousands of tribal farmers participated in a rally demanding food for the distressed farmers at sub-divisional headquarters of Pandharkawada in Yavatmal.” said D. “We left home in distress. Narayan Reddy and Ramulu. participated in the rally. with which they have an agreement. “Why should a farmer be always poor. all aged between 25 and 39. Madhya Pradesh farmers are suffering. They covered 1. Madhya Pradesh. According to Samiti president Kishore Tiwari. that there was a “ploy to finish farmers. four fellow farmers reached New Delhi on foot to knock at the doors of the powers that be. the samiti president alleged. Because of the Centre’s delay in lifting the ban on sugar export. Maharashtra farmers told us that the Prime Minister’s rehabilitation package for Vidharbha farmers was actually for politicians and officers. all in Yavatmal district. “Dasrath was turned away from the factory in an insulting manner. “who cannot raise their voice against the government. Tiwari alleged that it was a deliberate attempt to downplay the agrarian crisis created by the policy makers.840 km in 54 days. several mills stopped crushing before the season was over. three of the four Medak farmers will go on a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar here. village economy. Vasant Kumar said. unremunerative prices and lack of insurance. Godaru Pandore of Kundi and Gajanan Middliwar of Kosara. In Haryana. Mahadev Katolkar and Ganesh Gawande of Akola. Rajasthan farmers are suffering due to an artificial shortage of urea and black marketing in the fertilizer. the administration asked them to give blood for DNA tests. an electrical engineer from the Osmania University. not homogenous progress. that something is terribly wrong with the policy that gives high prices to foreign farmers and lets domestic farmers suffer for lack of a remunerative price. They said Chakali Dasrath committed suicide after his sugarcane was rejected by a mill. a Zahirabad Farmers Association was formed.” According to him. was upset when journalists in Delhi asked him why as a farmer he was dressed in trousers. The waiver of interest on loans benefited only the politiciandirectors of cooperative banks.000 suicides were reported in last five years. he was turned away.”…… (The Hindu 28/9/07) Eight more Vidarbha farmers end lives (20) NAGPUR: Eight more farmers' suicides were reported from various parts of the region in the last two days. Eknath Chaware of Washim and Gajanan Wagh of Wardha district were the eight new victims of the agricultural crisis in the region. illiterate and stand with folded hands? He feeds the country. He was unable to take it. we saw heterogeneous. farming. Vasant Kumar. Citing Anthropological Survey of India director Dr V R Rao spoke of appointing a study team to find if genetic causes were responsible for the farmers' suicides in Vidarbha.” From Friday. because of excess production this season. ecology and environment. A large number of farmers were kept out of the public distribution system and denied cheap foodgrains. Tiwari said. He told his wife that as a farmer he was not respected and despite his sugarcane being dedicated to that mill. the suicide tally has gone up to 1. according to Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti. But en route we found that we were not the only ones [suffering]. Rajasthan. 20-25 sugarcane growers died in Andhra Pradesh alone due to “faulty” policies of the Centre and a low enhancement in the State Administered Price this year.. Govind Reddy. He burnt the remaining crop and hanged himself. Cane Development Councils do not come to the aid of distressed farmers as they have politicians and local MLAs on the board.722 since the special relief package was announced by the Prime Minister.

they have urged the officials not to divulge their names. Last year. "In contrast. whose plight was highlighted in The Hindu on September 28. though willing. concerned citizens and social activists marked the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi by gathering in vigils to express their solidarity with India’s long-suffering farmers. After the incident. who gave his land for the construction of a colony for the displaced persons. (Indian Express 3/10/07) Medak farmers meet Sonia Gandhi (20) NEW DELHI: The padyatri farmers from Medak district in Andhra Pradesh. met United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi here on Thursday and sought her intervention to have their demands met.BHANDARA: In yet another unfortunate incident. 2: Voicing concern over the failure of the Central and state governments to contain the rising number of farmer suicides this year. While 32. a volunteer movement spearheading the campaign for farmers. which has promised an attractive relief and rehabilitation package. who has already reached marriageable age. when the farmer’s son went with to the house in the middle of the fields where his father had stayed overnight. came to light only on Saturday morning. Bihar and Kheda. Citing the example of Mahatma Gandhi. stated the NGO. Sources say that Borikar had borrowed Rs 30. however. Though farmers in these villages had initially opposed the project. whose first satyagraha movement in Champaran. When Mahatma Gandhi observed satyagraha.000 from the Vainganga Rural Bank and Rs 7.The Naxalites gunned down Datla Anjaneya Varma.000 from the Primary Agriculture Cooperative Society. despite non-violent action by groups such as the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti. they alleged. it is reported. It is estimated that 62. 50-year-old Laxman Borikar is reported to have incurred debts from various financial organisations and individuals. farmers are facing Naxal threat for having given consent letters to sell their lands to the Andhra Pradesh Government for the Polavaram project. Oct. not even talking to his neighbours." said activists from AID.500 acres. some farmers in Charla mandal and Satyanarayanapuram village gave consent letters to the Sub-Collector to sell their lands. They explained . October 2: In 223 villages in Khammam district. India and other countries marked the day with protests. Then the officials focused their attention on Dummugudem mandal in Bhadrachalam division. the villagers of Satyanarayanapuram refused to sell their lands. Rs 3. The farmers. citizens and social activists in 50 locations in the US.000 acres of land is required to rehabilitate the farmers. exactly 90 years ago was to highlight the plight of exploited peasants. so far. He is also said to have been overly worried about finding a suitable match for his daughter.000 to be repaid. a debt-ridden paddy farmer is reported to have committed suicide by consuming pesticide in Makardhokda village in the district on Friday. who have been opposing the construction of the Polavaram project from the beginning. 22. He leaves behind his wife. they are now volunteering to hand over their lands to the Government.000 from private moneylenders. Gujarat. the Indian government has not addressed their core demands. and sources say that he had even drawn back into a shell over the past few weeks. They have also threatened the farmers with dire consequences if they hand over their lands to the project. Though the villagers in this mandal have come forward to sell their lands.000 people would be displaced due to the project. The incident. daughter and three sons. are not coming forward openly to part with their lands due to the threat from Naxalites.000 acres of government land and 7. (Times of India 1/10/07) Activists seek relief for crisis-hit farmers (20) New Delhi. besides the loan amount of Rs 40.500 acres of forestland would be submerged and 91. Association for India’s Development (AID). He is also reported to have sold off half of his five acres of land in a bid to raise money with which to support his family. during 1917-18. It is also reported that his creditors often used to send officials to his house who would keep hounding him for money. the British government was compelled to recognise the agrarian crisis of that time and conceded to the demand of cancelling taxes paid by the farmers. the Prime Minister’s package for the Maharashtra farmers ignored many key demands of the farmers and has proved ineffective.700 acres of patta land. (Asian Age 3/10/07) Farmers face Naxal threat for parting with land (20) KHAMMAM. the district machinery has been able to acquire only 6. However. The website of the ministry of agriculture does not even mention the agrarian crisis and farmer suicides.

OCTOBER 13: Even as Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh meets various secretaries on Monday to finalise the proposals to be sent to the Centre in response to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s call for changes in the relief package for Vidarbha farmers. “More tragic has been the apathetic and irresponsible attitude of the State government. it was pointed out by one of the family members that Rajput farmers would rarely report a suicide for fear of loss of honour. Mr. in the presence of relatives of 17 farmers who committed suicide. “The farmers had boarded the train for Delhi before the elections were announced to draw the attention of the Centre to their plight. Releasing the data here under the aegis of Act Now for Harmony and Democracy. including the Rs 800 crore her the distress faced by the farmers of this and other States as witnessed by them during their 1. Ms. would not cost the state government more than Rs 60 crore. Mr. Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Prithviraj Chavan met the farmers and discussed their problems. The waiver. He said “6.000 cr. (The Hindu 14/10/07) Vidarbha relief: Deshmukh. the scene that has emerged from this information is very frightening. Jhala also secured data on accidental deaths of farmers. Their demands included immediate release of Rs.055 accidental deaths of farmers are a shockingly high figure and [this] needs to be looked into very seriously. the state would be thinking of ways to bring back the six lakh farmers who were omitted from this year’s credit disbursal for defaulting on last year’s loans. and immediate availability of credit.” he said at a press conference. taking recourse to the Right to Information Act. Vasanth Kumar and accompanied by AICC Secretary Sudhakar Reddy. This is precisely what the CM would . Jhala said the government could at least order an enquiry into the high incidence of suicide and accidental deaths. Jhala pointed out. led by D. he said it was just a coincidence. The 9. followed by Rajkot (62). Asked why the data were being released a day after the Assembly elections were announced.” he said in a bid to dispel the presumption that the move was “politically motivated. Social activist Bharat Jhala got the information. Even now. Conceding that the announcement of elections would delay provision of relief what with the model code in place. Earlier. information on six districts was not made available. With only four lakh being able to repay their debts. Mr.” Further. secys to work on new ideas (20) NAGPUR. According to the farmers. since the interest was charged only at 6 pc. loan and interest waiver for belowsubsistence level farmers for whom agriculture was the primary source of income. fertilizers. (The Hindu 12/10/07) AGRICULTURE/FARMERS' SUICIDE 489 Gujarat farmers have committed suicide since 2003 (20) NEW DELHI: The Gujarat government has admitted to 489 cases of farmer suicides across the State since 2003.200 crore.840 km long padyatra from Medak to New Delhi. Their loans were rescheduled bringing down the amount to Rs 2. 489 suicides in four years among the farming community are indicative of an ominous trend in the agrarian sector in Gujarat. The farmers. six lakh farmers were left with a debt burden. according to him. In the capital.” That there were many cases of suicide by farmers was admitted by Home Minister Amit Shah himself on the floor of the Assembly. 5 lakh and a meaningful package for the families of the dead. seeds. Gandhi assured them that she would take up their difficulties and demands with the government. The six lakh farmers left out of this year’s credit programme have a total outstanding loan of Rs 1. if effected.000 crore.33 lakh farmers who got fresh loans last year after it was rescheduled and interest waiver ended up with a total loan burden of Rs 2. Given its stated position against loan waiver. electricity and agricultural implements for rabi crop. Jhala said the information was gathered with difficulty and only on the intervention of the Central Information Commissioner. Jamnagar (50) and Mehsana (48). The padyatra was undertaken after a fellow sugarcane grower committed suicide in Medak district. which has not only failed to compensate these marginal farmers but also tried hard to suppress this information. the only way before the state government is to give another interest waiver and make the farmers eligible for fresh loans in the coming rabi and next kharif season. Junagadh district topped the list with 85 suicides. “Still. sought higher Statutory Minimum Price for sugarcane and enhanced minimum support price for paddy. They were also not given new loans this kharif season.” Mr. the farmers also approached the National Human Rights Commission.

Former Amravati Divisional Commissioner and Principal Secretary.000 people walking for the last 14 days. Patil is on a two-day visit to Vidarbha region. Its leader. while Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil were prominent among those present on the occasion. Also on the agenda could be incentives for the textile and other firms roped in to draw up contracts with farmers in the region. industries or wildlife parks.000. of which 40 per cent are Adivasis. “This will help get the land reform agenda back on to the table. “beyond nuclear power and super-speciality hospitals”. which officially is forest land. They are tribals. (Indian Express 14/10/07) President concerned over farmers’ suicides (20) Amravati:: President Pratibha Patil said on Saturday that the spate of suicide by farmers in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra is unfortunate and a matter of great concern. Above all. has been planning it for the last three years. Yesterday. which has organised the march.” he added. The idea is to waive off all their outstanding loans in three years at the rate of one-third each year if they adopt organic or contract farming. or marginal farmers who have been displaced as a result of mining. who promised that she would speak to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and that the Centre would do some thinking on the land reforms issue. starting at Gwalior. Khurshid sheepishly commented on the “other side of India” that he was seeing.have to finally decide on this Monday. P V Rajagopal. eating and sleeping on the roads (without causing any major traffic disruptions). “It’s either violence or silence. on Saturday. OCTOBER 16: Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid was in Mathura to inaugurate a slimming centre. At a felicitation function organised by the Congress-ruled Amravati Municipal Corporation. But the local MLA led him to a crowd of 25. going through Morena. They will walk through Balabhgarh and Faridabad to reach Delhi on October 28. But some in the Government did not find it “practical” as it might attract dissent from farmers who won’t agree to the conditions. a group of leaders including Rajagopal and Aruna Roy met Sonia Gandhi. Estimates show that development projects undertaken post-independence have displaced over 20 million people. in his presentation before the Prime Minister in Mumbai this August. Co-operatives. We have received tremendous support from farmers and even schoolchildren. who normally do not have two square meals a day. They are outside the purview of any rehabilitation policy as they do not have the documents to claim their rights over the land they have tilled for generations. Patil said that farmers’ suicides do not resolve their problems but put the rest of the family members into more difficulty. He was at one of the biggest non-violent marches organised in recent times — 25. Another idea is for the Government to bear the management cost that the firms would be required to incur for coming to Vidarbha and buying the produce. She arrived in Amravati. (Indian Express 14/10/07) 25. her home town. By producing the godown receipt. they would be able to get loans from banks at nominal interest rates against a pledge to sustain themselves till they could actually decide to sell off their produce when the markets offer best price. There are Dalits who have been systematically kept out of tenancy rights. This is definitely one of the largest congregations of its type. The Act provides for allowing the farmers to keep their produce in the godowns. The Ekta Parishad.000 farmers on a non-violent march (20) NEW DELHI. There are some who have been driven out of the land they tilled for generations. S K Goel. They have to be heard if they are saying something in a peaceful manner.” he said. Dhaulpur. Agra and Mathura.” said Rajagopal. The suggestion had been appreciated by the PM as “laudable”. “We have organised a march with 12.000 people walking along National Highway 3 from Gwalior to Delhi since October 2. Using the new Warehousing Act passed by the Centre to good effect in the state could be another idea to be discussed at the meeting. The President said she had discussed the issue of farmers’ suicides with Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and state authorities and suggested a few measures for effective implementation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s financial package to bail out the farmers and curb the suicidal tendencies. The main demand is for setting up a National Land Reforms Commission and a new land reforms policy. had suggested a conditional total loan waiver for farmers willing to take up organic and contract farming.000 people for . Bihar Governor R S Gavai presided over the felicitation. it is a logistical wonder: 25. “The administration has to understand that there are many here who could be future naxalites. is best known for his work with the peaceful surrender of Chambal dacoits in the ‘70s.

S. Oct. Rajasthan. The World Bank has also approved the proposal to set up a nodal facility to boost animal husbandry products like meat. who works for the Brazilian movement for the landless called MST. Significantly. and Scarabeli and some co-workers have come here to study the dynamics of this march. An interaction with small and marginal farmers from Jaipur. (Asian Age 31/10/07) World Bank to link Maha farmers to market (20) Pune. a poultry farmer sitting in Vidharbha can get a text message on prevailing market rates in Nashik before he sells his products. there is no centralised facility in the state to grade the eggs that are required for exports. The animal husbandry department has launched a pilot project to set up a market development cell to promote exports and improve market access for farmers. poultry and eggs for export. drinking or straying from their rows while the march is on. which is a UPA ally. “What we are aiming at is a more organised network to increase private sector investment in agri business and promote entrepreneurs who can set up such units. In terms of logistics. Yerrannaidu. shared the dais along with leaders like CPI general secretary A. block. Kerala and Andhra Pradesh march from the Ramlila Ground and culminating at the Parliament Street. Tamil Nadu. Maharashtra. it is pointed out. MP and national general secretary of the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) Gurudas Dasgupta. Each group and sub-group has a trained leader. Marketing of meat and eggs is still in the unorganised sector and infrastructure for supply of essential inputs. Vyas at the Kumarappa Institute of Gram Swaraj (KIGS) here recently brought to light the grim . The farmers are pressing for the implementation for their 14-point charter of demands to the Centre and have been organising similar protests at the village. Bardhan. Maharashtra Animal Husbandry Commissioner. Orissa and Tamil Nadu have been selected for a World Bank-aided Multi State Agricultural Competitiveness Project (MACP) to develop competitive marketing systems and empower farmers by giving them better access to markets. general secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). In all. Tonk and Sikar districts with a group of experts led by noted economist V. Cauvery. If this is not done we will intensify our agitation. We are also looking at other players in the market apart from the established ones to take up contract farming.000. Andhra Pradesh.” he added. "This government is anti-farmer and has done nothing for their improvement. Maharashtra. The rally organised by the All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) saw thousands of farmers from different states like Uttar Pradesh. CPI(M)’s Nilotpal Basu. We have sent a 14-point charter of demands to the Prime Minister and have asked him to take quick action on it.000 each. “We have tied up with MITCON consultancy services to study the market.P. So.” said Ashish Sharma.” said Vanderly Scarabeli. At present. Each is further divided into sub-groups of 1. Ramgopal Yadav and Telugu Desam Party MP K. Bihar.the landless in Brazil. Rajasthan. it would teach event managers a thing or two. November 1: Now. The children of those living on income from agriculture alone till now have abandoned their land in the absence of water and prohibitive input costs.B. Mahanadi. facilities for improved breeding. ……… (Indian Express 17/10/07) Left attacks UPA on farmers’ issues (20) New Delhi. Chambal and Ganga of 5. 30: The Left and the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) came together on a common platform attacking the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government on farmers’ issues in a rally organised by the All-India Kisan Sabha on Tuesday. UNPA leaders like Samajwadi Party M. D.352 leaders to ensure that the march is held according to Gandhian principles: no eating. Puducherry. as part of the new project. including Pune. and then down to 25.P." said AIKS general secretary Atul Kumar Anjan. feeding and management of meat products are too inadequate. The participants have been divided into five groups: Narmada. the Parishad trained 1. There are 4. (Indian Express 2/11/07) Farmers forced to work as daily wagers (20) JAIPUR: Unsustainable agricultural practices and growing costs of farm inputs are forcing a large number of small and marginal farmers in Rajasthan to work as daily wage earners. district and state levels before coming to the national capital. said Sharma. Tripathi.5 million landless in Brazil. egg-grading units will be set up at five places in Western Maharashtra. There is also a move to start poultry dressing units and an organised slaughter house.

1. it is always the big farmer who gets a hearing. he has been growing cabbages in 50 per cent of the area and tomatoes in the remaining. While suicides by non-farmers went up by 23 per cent in the Big Four States. That is. official data show. these States accounted for 53 per cent. these States might be termed the “Suicide SEZ” or “Special Elimination Zone” for farmers this past decade. leapt .10. also the director of KIGS. a progressive farmer from Ajitgarh in Sikar. Prabhudayal ‘Sevak’. in his opening remarks. there is no margin in agriculture any more. By 2005. was found dead at his home on Saturday. His fellow farmers from Dotana village in the tehsil said out of the 100odd families in the village 60 have given up farming. This means that farm suicides occurred in these (mainly cash crop) regions with appalling intensity. empty tyres hung on trees) the farmers with limited land size too could survive. “None of my two grown-up sons is willing to do farming. Indeed. who was recently jailed in connection with the Gujjar agitation for Scheduled Tribe status. in less than a decade. said the small farmers were not aware of many of the facilities offered to them by the Government agencies. which fetch them Rs. Suicides as a whole rose nationally in the 1997-2005 period. has come down drastically. the farmers pointed out. farm suicides went up by 52 per cent. Sources say Janabandhu took the extreme step as he could not repay the loan of over Rs 50. “But for the fodder. it was 64 per cent.crisis on the farm front. a Dalit from Pauna Kurd village in Pauni district of Vidarbha region. Talking of best farm practices. Bhagirath Gujjar of Niwai tehsil in Tonk district. They feel daily wage jobs in the capital city. in plastic bags. who is known for producing giant-sized cabbages in his farm.000 a year from their one-hectare piece of land after investing almost that much. Yet most of the farmers complained of the menace from stray cattle and the wild animal. which was that State’s worst year.5 lakh farm suicides from 1997 to 2005 (20) Nearly 1. In Maharashtra. Vyas. The five States are Maharashtra. Vyas and Awadh Prasad.000 Indian farmers committed suicide in nine years from 1997 to 2005. Prof. farming has come down to single cropping at most of the places but that too is unviable. which comes as profit. Many of the farmers expressed their willingness to go back to traditional agricultural practices but felt supporting even a pair of bullocks would be a challenge these days in the wake of shrinking grazing land in villages. Obviously Bairwa cannot convince his sons as he earns a meagre Rs. Amid gloom there were success stories as well. nearly two-thirds of such deaths were concentrated in five States where just a third of the country’s population lives. (The Hindu 10/11/07) Another farmer ends life in Pauni (20) PAUNI: Rajvilas Janabandhu (32). “When it comes to farmers.” said Prabhudayal Bairwa of Chaksu tehsil in Jaipur district. Maharashtra.” he lamented. Biharilal of Burhanpura in Sikar district said the depletion of ground water level in the area made farming unviable. a farmer from Naharwala Dhani in Chaksu in Jaipur district. the percentage increase in farm suicides were more than double the increase in nonfarm suicides in this period. too. While the suicides occurred in many States. Most of the able-bodied young men in Tonk district now go for loading sand into trucks from the dry bed of the Banas river.” he told the farmers. With the reduction in the number of crops and the absence of common land for grazing the number of cattle. Farm suicides there more than trebled from 1083 in 1995 to 3926 in 2005. Andhra Pradesh. director of KIGS. their share of farm suicides. sister and a brother (Times of India 12/11/07 Nearly 1. said he preferred manual labour to farming. or just over half of all farm suicides in the country.50. “Don’t let inferiority complex affect you mind. Karnataka. for which data exists from 1995. Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. already disproportionately high. He is survived by his mother. said even after keeping nightlong vigils for many days one night’s absence often resulted in decimation of the whole season’s yield by marauding cattle and Neelgais. From two crop seasons.” said Prof. In 1997. That was mainly because of a decline after 2003. Of these. said vertical farming (on raised platforms. Owner of 16 bighas of land. Madhya Pradesh (including Chattisgarh) and Kerala. Jagdish Pareek. commonly referred to as Neelgai.200 a month are better. only Kerala showed no sustained increase in the number of yearly farm suicides over this period. But the rate of increase in farm suicides was far higher than the rate of increase in suicides by non-farmers. Bluebull.000 he had taken from Primary Agriculture Cooperative Society and a self-help group. The small and marginal farmers have no voice. is by far the worst-hit. Andhra Pradesh.

The meeting will also discuss instituting a Credit Guarantee Fund/Scheme as recommended by the RBI’s Johl Committee. suicides per 1. NABARD chairman and Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the PM to finalise a coordinated approach on agricultural Indebtedness. NOVEMBER 13: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has decided to make a course correction after the Radhakrishna Committee Report on rural indebtedness criticised the implementation of his package for the 31 farmer suicide-hit districts in Andhra Pradesh. The Big Four have together seen 89. In Maharashtra alone. modifying business correspondent model of rural banks and providing village-level technology touch points linked to Village Knowledge Centres. As a follow up to the report.102 between 2002 and 2005. Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission. the frequency at which farmers take their lives in any region smaller than the country — say a single State or group of States — has to be lower. Maharashtra and Kerala. The meeting could take place within a fortnight. the Prime Minister has decided to convene a meeting of the Finance Minister. Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have together seen 89. and one every two and a quarter hours in Maharashtra alone. Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh (including Chhattisgarh). Ministry of Home Affairs. which looked into the institutional mechanisms required to address distress among farmers. These and other grim findings emerge from a comprehensive study of official data on farm suicides by Professor K. The worst of these is Group II which includes. Since 2002. Apart from discussing the report. However.00.000-crore package. Also on agenda will be the creation of a Moneylenders Debt Redemption Fund to mitigate the burden of farmers’ indebtedness to moneylenders. While the PM’s package covered only 31 districts. In fact. were identified on the basis of low land productivity and credit to deposit ratios below 40 per cent. that was one suicide every three hours. Karnataka. one Indian farmer committed suicide every 32 minutes between 1997 and 2005. besides the Big nearly two-thirds. (The Hindu 12/11/07) Rural debt: PM calls meet to rework relief package (20) NEW DELHI. Nagaraj of the Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS). . who has studied farmers’ suicides between 1997-2005 based on the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data. The 100 districts. that has become one suicide every 30 minutes. The committee had recommended a Rs 100-crore fund as a one-time measure of providing long-term bank loans to farmers so that they could repay their debts to moneylenders. which had called for “urgent corrections” over the implementation of Rs 17. the PMO has even advised Finance Minister P Chidambaram to discuss specific points with Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia to finalise a “coordinated approach” ahead of the high-level meeting. The period covered by the study is from 1997-2005. Other issues that the PM wanted to look into were simplification of mortgage procedure for agricultural credit. Yet. Andhra Pradesh. is also on the agenda.362 farmers’ suicides between 1997 and 2005.362 farmers’ suicides between 1997 and 2005. the State of Goa which shows a high farmers’ suicide rate (FSR) — that is. Government of India. crop insurance and issues related with changing credit cycles adjustable to meet the requirements of weather and crop-cycles. RBI Governor. A massive programme for financial inclusion. or 44. This is a publication of the National Crime Records Bureau. Agriculture Minister. one farmer took his or her life every 53 minutes between 1997 and 2005 in just the States of Maharashtra. K. The data analysed by him were drawn from various issues of Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India. However. which will include converting Kisan Credit Cards into Smart Cards. It got even worse after 2001.(Indian Express 14/11/07) One farmer’s suicide every 30 minutes (20) Maharashtra. It rose to one farm suicide every 48 minutes in these Big Four States. including the 31 in the original package. Because the number of suicides in any such region would be less than the total for the country as a whole in any year. On average.000 farmers. Andhra Pradesh. divides the States into four groups. the high-level meeting will take up specific tangible action points for implementation. On average. the high-level meeting will look into recommendation of the Radhakrishna Committee which had recommended setting up an Agricultural Development Fund to finance special agricultural development programmes in 100 agriculturally distressed districts. Nagaraj of the Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS). the frequency at which farmers are killing themselves in many regions is appalling.

“The increase in farm suicides over the nine-year period 1997-2005 is not so high. Of these.” says Professor Nagaraj. Madvi Kosa. Andhra Pradesh has begun to mimic Maharashtra in one unhappy aspect. Ever since Naxalites banned agricultural activity by farmers living in the Salwa Judum relief camps. but the absolute numbers have been very high for a long period. While the police have extended security. In Group II States.5. at 48 per cent. Andhra Pradesh was the first State after the 2004 polls to appoint a commission to go into the agrarian crisis. However. who owns about 20 acres in Boda Guda village.00. Most farmers haven’t been able to sow a single crop. (The Hindu 15/11/07) In Chhattisgarh’s Naxal heartland. Joga is among 57. November 18: When Madvi Joga steps out of his single-room hutment in the Dornapal Salwa Judum camp to go to his fields every morning. farming can get you killed.” says Madvi Rama. The government promised to make one person from each family a Special Police Officer.770 suicides between 1997 and 2005. Also. though this has not been so far acknowledged. Nidiyam Ganga’s fields fall in ‘hyper-sensitive’ Pomapeda Guda. have made identification of farmers’ suicides extremely difficult by using indicators that rule out vast numbers from being categorised as such. And the government claims the numbers have fallen further in 2006. District Collector (Dantewara) K R Pisda confirms that the total area under cultivation is going down in the region.000 population — and have seen large numbers of farm suicides.” Madhya Pradesh (including Chhattisgarh) saw 23. But the damage of those earlier years was huge. One problem with such corruption of data is that it will eventually reflect in and distort future NCRB reports as well. earning Rs 1. In short. However. after a disastrous five-year period. “Madhya Pradesh appears to have long been a problem State for farmers. And the State’s 15 per cent increase in non-farmers committing suicide in the 1997-2005 period is five times higher than the rise in farmers’ suicides (3 per cent). has cultivated just one-fourth of the land. In all. Madhya Pradesh has mostly escaped the media radar as a farm crisis State. “Though we provided seeds to villagers. Based on the commission’s advice.Goa’s rate is based on tiny absolute numbers. “Though security is provided to us. it also took some steps towards handling that crisis. is more than four times the increase in farmers’ suicides. The campaign is a government-backed effort which was launched in 2005 by tribals in the Bastar region against Naxal extremism. 8 km from the Dornapal relief camp. “Even that has not been kept. at 11 per cent. the rise in non-farmer suicides. then Andhra Pradesh saw 16.9 in 2005 against a national average of 15. it is unclear whether the lower numbers for 2004-05 were largely due to policy measures or whether there have been new and creative accounting techniques. Several States. the Naxal threat has forced them to restrict activities. farmers get gunmen as security cover (20) Dantewara. Other farmers say they had been promised land equivalent to traditional holdings. For. family members see him off with a prayer on their lips. During sowing season. The number of “non-genuine” cases — those the government does not accept as distress-linked — keeps mounting each month while the “genuine” suicides decline. more than one of every five persons taking his or her life in these States that year was a farmer. allegedly for daring to defy the diktat. It persuaded creditors to accept a one-time settlement of debt in several cases.588 farm suicides in the 1997-2005 period. All Group II States have high general suicide rates (GSR) — suicides per 1.000 tribals from some 640 villages in 23 relief camps set up by the state government for those who fled their homes after the Naxal retaliation against the Salwa Judum campaign. notably Maharashtra. However.” says Ganga. Andhra Pradesh shows some decline in 2005. farm suicides as a percentage of total suicides reached 21. one in every four suicides in this group was committed using pesticide………. “But no one from my family has been provided a job. in the Naxal-infested Dantewara and Bijapur districts of Chhattisgarh’s South Bastar. I don’t know anything else than farming to survive.093 farm suicides in the period. we have to collectively visit the fields and finish work as soon as possible. This possibly helped see a decline after the terrible years of 2002-04. Karnataka saw as many as 20. Karnataka too records some decline in 2004 and 2005. if the NCRB data are valid. the promise of incentives for those who continue farming is still to be kept.500 per month. Again. There are other problems too. It restored compensation for the suicides that had been stopped by the previous regime in 1998. eight farmers were killed here.” says Kosa. IGP (Bastar) R K Vij says security forces search the farms and nearby jungles before . here too. gun-toting security personnel have been escorting farmers to the fields. Much higher than in many other States.” The fear is allpervasive. But there is no NCRB data to support this as yet.

Asked about providing a package to other districts in Vidharbha. “The Prime Minister’s package has been found useless and has not served the purpose. with a warning by executive president Uddhav Thackeray that the agitation would spread all over the State if the Maharashtra government ignored the plea.500 crore but loan waiver had to be decided by the Centre. even as the government claimed a major drop in the suicides and the Opposition disrupted the State legislature on the issue.” Kishore Tiwari. about 10 km from the destination. Deshmukh said it involved consideration of four other States.” said the son of the party supremo Bal Thackeray. told The Hindu. Six of the farmers are from Yavatmal district where the largest number of suicides has taken place. Bhattal said that her party was ready to lend all kind of support to the Badal government on the issue of suicides by farmers. told reporters: “The government will have to accept it [the demand] or go.056. (The Hindu 20/11/07) Cotton farmers commit suicide (20) NAGPUR: Ten cotton growers have committed suicide in the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra during the last four days. led by Divakar Raote. the Congress on Thursday decided to set up a panel to chalk out programmes for solving the prolonged problem hitting the State. a large number of them committing go to their fields. since January 2007. to 1. She said the panel would find out ways and what kind of help can be rendered to the debt-ridden farmers and what best the Centre can do for them. The Chief Minister said farmers of the State owed cooperative banks and societies about Rs. who along with other Sena leaders and legislators joined the march in the morning at Waddham. Thackeray. Ms. Mr. began on November 13 from Mozari village in the Vidharbha region. now infamous for suicide by farmers.” she said all aspects of the issue would be deliberated by the panel and the role that the State and Central governments could play in the issue will be chalked out. in their thirties. The calendar year 2006 had registered 1. That could be done by the Union Government. This raises the number of suicides. The PCC chief claimed that the Parkash Singh Badal government had failed completely in taking concrete steps to resolve the issue of suicides by the farmers in the State. and not this Maharashtra region alone.442 suicides. The claim was rejected outright by the activists and the Opposition alike. Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh recently said that suicides had dropped by 40 per cent.” she said.” he told reporters on the eve of the winter session of the Legislature here. claimed that the financial assistance and concessions yielded good results and the number of suicides had come down. But unfortunately. Ms. Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. Describing the issue as “very serious. two are from Akola and one each from Nagpur and Gondia district. The march. however. Bhattal also urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take stringent measures so that the respective . Bhattal said her party would demand a special package for the debt-ridden farmers of the State from United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi during her proposed visit to the State in February next year. cases of suicide committed for other reasons are also taken as debt-related. “Most of these farmers are young. where cotton growers faced a crisis. Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam says more help is on the way. Mr. MLC. leader of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan. (Indian Express 19/11/07) Vidharbha march ends but stir will spread: Sena (20) NAGPUR: A week-long march by Shiv Sena workers demanding that farmers’ debts be written off ended here on Monday. Ms. “The packages given to the six most affected districts in Vidharbha are aimed at preventing debt-ridden farmers from taking the extreme step and that has worked. 7. (The Hindu 22/11/07) Congress plans to set up panel on farmers’ suicides in Punjab (20 Chandigarh: Concerned over the of suicides by farmers in Punjab in the recent years.” Pradesh Congress Committee chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal told journalists here. the organisation campaigning for a better deal for the farmers in distress. “The Congress has decided to constitute a panel so that the issue of suicides by farmers can be deliberated. The Sena had launched the agitation in Vidharbha.” The Sena leader said farmers all over the State were debt-ridden and even sugarcane growers in other regions were in trouble. “A proposal will be drafted by the panel soon to be handed over to the Central government for taking remedial measures. This is not the end but the beginning of our agitation.

On this. However. Four Suspended: The government on Friday announced suspension of four employees of the revenue department for allowing building of houses on wakf land and which was reserved for cattle grazing at Agashi village in Vasai taluka of Thane district.01 crore on extension service. The starred question. (Indian Express 24/11/07) .000 crore) for agriculture sector. Rane submitted district-wise figures of suicide cases. Rs 50. The action was announced in response to the matter raised during question hour in the state assembly by Madhukar Kukde.15 crore on national horticulture programme and Rs 10. tenants. claiming that the toll was 485 for this year.98 crore on micro-irrigation. the policy envisages steps to improve the economic viability of farming by substantially improving the net income of farmers. which would be geared towards grooming agricultural graduates as an entrepreneur. While Rs 995. the state government has claimed that only 485 farmers have ended their lives from January 1 to October 31 in Maharashtra this year. Rs 824. Amravati (33). revenue minister Narayan Rane stated that the Prime Minister's Rs 3. The four included a tehsildar. which would replace the National Agriculture Policy. Nanded and Jalgaon districts where cotton cultivation is taken up in large areas as cash crop had reported 32 and 30 cases respectively during the period.750 crore special package and Rs 1. Akola (31) and Buldhana (25) were the worst-hit districts where suicides were reported. It further promises to develop centres of excellence in agriculture.000 only in Vidarbha region. The policy. While the highest number of cases. under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister. a mandal officer. and agro-forestry. vermiculture.State governments take effective steps to strengthen and streamline the public distribution system in states. sharecroppers and persons engaged in various farming-related occupations such as sericulture. interestingly was put up by over 60 members of the assembly including leader of the opposition Ramdas Kadam. 2007”. were reported from Yavatmal district. The policy provides greater focus to develop entrepreneurship in the the agricultural sector and emphasises the need for curriculum restructuring in agricultural universities. for the first time.80 crore on schemes for generating supplementary income sources for farmers. Sudhir Mugantiwar and others (Times of India 24/11/07) Farmers’ policy to revive agri sector (20) New Delhi.95 crore on distribution of seeds.900 crore) and Additional Central Assistance (Rs 25. In this context. was unveiled by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in the Parliament on Friday.02 crore on check-dams. November 23: The Centre on Friday unveiled a “National Policy for Farmers. 53. An Agricultural Coordination Committee. — PTI '485 farmers committed suicide in '07' (20) NAGPUR: While non-government organisations and farm activists have put the farmers' suicide toll in the current year at around 1. Rs 53. would oversee and coordinate the integrated implementation of policy as suggested by the Inter-Ministerial Committee. Wardha (37). till date Rs 1. it underlines it would not alienate the farmers from their land under “any circumstances”. the policy recognises the role of contract farming as one of the ways to achieve economies of scale for small and marginal farmers.983 crore have been spent on various heads. and several members of the treasury benches. In a written reply in the state assembly on Friday. Denying that there was an alarming rise in suicide cases in the state.99 crore was incurred on waiving of interest on crop loan to farmers. The other important heads include Rs 22. In view of the proliferation of tiny and economically unviable farm holding. has defined “farmer” in a holistic manner to include not only those who engage in producing primary agricultural produce but also to include agricultural labourers. among others. modeled after IITs and IIMs. a patwari and a gram sewak. The policy.075 crore relief announced by the state government were being implemented effectively. which comes after the Food Security Mission (worth Rs 4. Rs 4. to enhance the competitiveness of the graduates from these centres. The policy promises to constitute an Inter-Ministerial Committee at the Centre which would work out appropriate plans to operationalise various policy features aimed at rejuvenating agriculture sector. Rane told the houses that out the PM's package.69 crore was disbursed for irrigation projects. 2000. the policy promises to bring out a code of conduct for contract farming and encourage a farmer-friendly contract farming system. The policy derives primarily from the recommendations of National Commission of Farmers. Rs 20.

(Times of India 15/12/07) Farmers orphans in their own is is a solid example the SEZ has to follow. but the handling of land acquisition for SEZ has brought many issues into focus. the farmers of village Shirasgaon Kasba in Chandur Bazaar tehsil have threatened to commit mass suicide on December 20 if the authorities concerned do not take immediate action. says Kalam (20) pune.” Kalam said at his inaugural speech at national convention on “Independent India-2007: Our achievements. the betel leaf plantation was damaged while orange and banana crops face the danger of drying up due to the high temperature surrounding the kilns.” The former president said the country is facing a serious problem of farmers committing suicide in certain parts at a stage when the country’s GDP is growing at the rate of 9 per cent. I know what it means as I come from a farming family. Around 29 affected farmers had given a representation to tehsildar S H Shirsudhe on October 15. addressing a press conference after a seminar on farmers’ issues and challenges. Chandrababu Naidu said: "If the government doesn’t respond to the problems being faced by farmers. There are 7-8 brick kilns near Megha river bank which are damaging nearby farms. (Indian Express 18/12/07) Nationwide stir threat by UNPA on farm issues (20) New Delhi. UNPA convenor and Telugu Desam Party chief N. “The government and industry should make farmers their partners in the SEZ projects and give equal share holding to farmers in the project cost as per the land ownership. Pune has set an example on how to make farmers prosperous when mega infrastructure projects are considered. “Farmers should not sell their land for any economic zones or any other activity. However. 2008. 18: The United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) on Tuesday warned the government that if it did not address the concerns of farmers. He said the country was witnessing turbulence as a result of the SEZ implementation. children of farmers should be trained in value addition tasks connected with SEZ projects. Let us take it forward and give reverence to the human life of farmers from the Magarpatta city project to the whole nation wherever the SEZ is thought of it.Farmers threaten mass suicide (20) AMRAVATI: Affected by damage to orange and banana crops and betel leaf plantations due to brick kilns.” He said." He added that alliance has planned a farmers’ dharna in New Delhi during the Budget Session of Parliament and it would also organise rallies in Jaipur on January 21.. he said. Raw material for making bricks was also seized by the talathi. Recently. former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam on Sunday urged them not to sell their fertile land for the secured economic zones and become landless. “The independent efforts of 120 farmers from Pune have created Rs 4000 crore Magarpatta city project. “I appreciate the courage and the business acumen of the Pune farmers and their business associates. “The successful project of Magarpatta City in Pune can be referred to as a model project where the interest of farmers has been protected by giving them equity in the project and training their children for participation in the project execution. they were paid nothing.” Also.” Kalam said. the alliance would launch a nationwide agitation. “SEZ was essential for the country’s economic growth.” Kalam said. Earlier. Dec. Though the farmers had demanded compensation for damage. we will intensify our agitation in the country to organise the farmers. adding.. corporate who helped them to start a role model project in our country. Shirsudhe said that permission for these kilns had already been denied by the government and they had stopped operating.” he said. Earlier. The alliance had recently staged a joint rally with the All-India Kisan Sabha in New Delhi and another in Vijayawada in November to press for the problems being faced by farmers. failures and prospects” organised by the World Foundation of Reverence for all Life. Foundation president Bahri B R Malhotra said it was time to introspect the situation of the country that completes 60 years of independence. following which permission was refused to these kilns. UNPA . in Mumbai on February 1 and in Ranchi on February 6 next year. Dada J P Vaswani said Kalam was “an emeritus president” as he continues to speak on the various issues prevalent in the country despite not being on the constitutional post. despite orders. the kilns are still working and damaging oranges and bananas spread over 30 acres of land. DECEMBER 17 : Pointing out that the farmers were becoming orphans in their own land by selling their land for special economic zone (SEZ). “I do not want to see any farmer becoming landless.

" said Mr Naidu. Expressing concern for the farmers. but the government is not worried over the plight of farmers. "The farm sector generates maximum employment in the country. (Asian Age 19/12/07) . Indian National Lok Dal chief Om Prakash Chautala said farmer should be able to decide the price of his produce in a capitalist system. Stating that the increasing social unrest among farmers could create a food security problem. National Farmers Commission) committee report on the condition of farmers. but the government hasn’t done anything. Observing that food subsidies had come down drastically in India over the past few years.S." said Mr Singh. Swaminathan (chairman. "The recent national farmers policy did not get much attention in the media. Mr Chandrababu Naidu said the economic reforms started in 1991 marked the downfall of the country’s agriculture sector. The benefit of these reforms are not reaching the poor. one per cent from small farmers and increase the minimum support price to compensate for increases in input costs." said Mr Mulayam Yadav said. UNPA spokesperson Amar Singh said it was not "fashionable" to talk about farmers’ problems.chairman and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav asked the Centre to implement the M. The leaders demanded that the government should charge three per cent interest from big farmers. Increased cost and reduced margins lead farmers to commit suicide. but the alliance was committed to taking up the issues with the government. Mr Naidu said the "delivery system" of these subsidies also needed to be corrected. "There is an increasing variation between the farm and the non-farm sector of the economy. he said.

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