Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan pulled up bureaucrats on their failure to rein in the ongoing agrarian crisis at the inauguration session of officers meet at Academy of Administration in Bhopal on Friday.
While the agriculture department faced the severest criticism, officials of the electricity and cooperatives departments too were in the firing line.
A one-day brainstorming session of IAS, IPS and IFS officers was organised after their three-day mandatory tour of rural areas to take stock of the situation of drought-hit farmers.
As a precursor to the meet, CM Chouhan took feedback from the officers on Thursday and formed five groups, comprising two commissionerate divisions each, to plan a roadmap for farmers and the agriculture sector in whole.
Expressing displeasure over the prevailing situation, the chief minister said the agriculture department field staff, including gram sewaks and gramin vistar adhikari, had failed miserably at their job and their presence has brought no difference to the farmers, as they are still ignorant about appropriate usage of pesticides and seeds.
He insisted that a new system was needed to bring about positive change at the ground level. “When the crops are damaged farmers suffer, but when the yield is good, the farmer still does not gain much. Income of farmers is reducing while cost of agriculture inputs is increasing day by day. This issue needs to be addressed,” said Chouhan.
He also criticised the crop insurance scheme, saying the farmers are aware of the premium they have been charged and also unable to compute the amount of compensation to which they are eligible. He directed the bureaucrats to address the insurance issue so that it becomes viable and beneficial for the farmers at large.
In his criticism of the electricity sector, Chouhan said despite the Rs 55,000 crore subsidy to the electricity department, farmers were still not getting appropriate power supply.
There are complaints from across the state that transformers are dysfunctional and people are getting inflated electricity bills, he noted, and directed officials to direct the field staff to deal with the matter.
In conclusion, Chouhan asked the officials to ensure a system where farmers get the right value for their produce, noting that middlemen make a substantial chunk of the money while farmers remain vulnerable. He also stressed the need to create alternative sources of income for farmers.
Farmer commits suicide in Raisen
A debt ridden farmer committed suicide at Madhiya Naka under Begumganj police station limits of sehore district on Thursday night.
According to police, Gautam, 50, son of Kudau Adivasi, committed suicide by hanging himself. Police said Gautam belonged to Toda village under Jaisi Nagar police station limits in Sagar district and had moved to his in-laws’ house at Madhiya Naka in Raisen district.
He had purchased a tractor by depositing Rs 1.20 lakh, but was unable to pay the set monthly instalments on time. As a result, recovery agents of Kotak Mahindra Bank seized his motorcycle and tractor, and also allegedly beat him up.
Gautam’s widow Munnibai and brother-in-law Ramratan said he was depressed over the failure of his soybean crop and mounting debt with the bank.
On the day of the incident, Gautam consumed liquor and sent his wife and children to Ramratan’s house. When his son Bablu returned home the following morning, he found Gautam hanging from the ceiling and informed his maternal uncle Ramratan about the incident.