The leader of the Opposition in the state Legislative Council, Pandurang Fundkar demanded a white paper on the implementation of farmers’ packages, announced by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the state government to bail out the crisis-ridden farmers in the region.
Fundkar, who was in Nagpur on Wednesday, sought the details of the package fund, the amount used for the benefits of distressed farmers and the present status of implementation of them.
Pointing out the slow pace of implementation of the packages, he alleged that the farmers of the region were not getting any dividends from both the relief packages and that’s why they were still committing suicides.
According to him, farmers’ suicide would be a major issue in the ensuing winter session of the state legislature, to be begun from December 4 at Nagpur. "We will not allow the smooth Assembly session at Nagpur till the cotton growers are not getting remunerative price of their raw cotton," he thundered.
He demanded at least a support price of Rs 2,700 per quintal for raw cotton under the state sponsored cotton monopoly procurement scheme. Fundkar, who had served the state cotton cooperative marketing federation as its chairman, predicted that the situation of cotton growers in the region would be more aggrieved in coming days if they not get the remunerative price of their produces.
Earlier, the chief minister, Vilasrao Deshmukh had turned down the proposal to hike the rate of raw cotton, citing the present financial crunch faced by the state government. Moreover, the state cotton cooperative marketing federation which procures cotton from farmers has been incurring huge losses.
Meanwhile, five more farmers have ended their lives in the region in last 48 hours and the death toll in this month reached to 96. Of the five farmers committing suicide, two each were from Yavatmal and Akola districts in western Vidarbha and one hailed from Gondia district of the eastern part of the region. They were: Dasrath Akre of Morgaon Arjuni (Gondia), Shrikrishna Korde, Hingni, Sevakram Charate of Kathi (both in Akola district), Yogiraj Kosti of Payur and Dasrath Landge, (both in Yavatmal)
Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti claimed that as many as 1,141 farmers of the region have committed suicide because of debts since June last year. The figure was 112 in October while it touched to 534 since the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the region in June-July this year and announced an economic package, he added.
Interestingly, the state government website giving a daily update on farmers' suicide under the pain of a court order shows a higher figure than the one given out by Tiwari of the Samiti.
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