If the Prime Minister hadn't flown in to Vidarbha, Kolezari, a village in the debt-cursed Yavatmal district, wouldn’t even have been a blip on the district administration radar. Because he did, one of its farmers ended up with losses worth Rs 2.50 lakh.
When Kolezari became part of the PM's itinerary after the suicide of a farmer, Goshya Dhansinh Powar, officials got down to the business of building a helipad for his chopper to land. They did so by taking over the land of a farmer, Vinod Sangitrao. Before dragging concrete and bricks on to Sangitrao's field, freshly sown with cotton and tur seeds in preparation for the kharif season, they did not even deign to inform him. “One of my workers was in the farm when the authorities simply told him they needed the land. They have put in a lot of concrete and bricks. I think my land has been rendered useless for this season. I think my loss runs between Rs 2 and Rs 2.50 lakh,” he said.
All of which, however, went down the drain. Heavy rains on Saturday washed away the helipad and the PM had to cancel his trip, leaving the viilagers fuming. Shevanti Lalaji Ade described the atmosphere in the village as one of mourning. Pointing at the incomplete helipad, she added, “The government has committed muddur (read murder) of raw material just like the muddur of a human being.” Sushila Basoraj Chavan was more caustic. “This is an insult to the poor and our community.” Angry villagers have launched a relay fast and threatened to continue it till the PM visits them.
For Sangitrao, there’s a sliver of hope. The district collector has promised to compensate his loss.