32 drought-hit villages to get help from chief minister’s office | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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32 drought-hit villages to get help from chief minister’s office

Ekdara is one of the 32 villages badly affected by the ongoing agrarian crisis in the state, which will get a help of Rs2 crore each, along with special attention from the chief minister’s office

mumbai Updated: Jul 04, 2016 00:33 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Drought
Nearly 3,200 farmers committed suicide in the state in 2015.(HT File)

In tiny Ekdara village of Amravati in Vidarbha, a farmer has committed suicide every year since 2010, ruining one family. Almost all farmers are indebted with the past three years of drought and unseasonal rains having nearly wiped out annual earnings of almost all of around 300 to 400 families here.

This year, however, Ekdara’s farmers have been promised a way out of the cycle of debt and suicides, with the government looking at direct intervention with funds and government schemes.

Ekdara is one of the 32 villages badly affected by the ongoing agrarian crisis in the state, which will get a help of Rs2 crore each, along with special attention from the chief minister’s office.

The chief minister’s relief fund, where funds have been donated for Jalyukt Shivar or the state’s ambitious water conservation policy as well as drought, will be utilised in these villages which have been picked from 16 badly hit districts of the state, including all districts of Marathwada and Amravati division of Vidarbha.

Nearly 3,200 farmers committed suicide in the state in 2015. “We are looking at direct and targeted intervention through CM relief fund to these villages and hope to see tangible results. We will be

covering two areas -- making the village water self-sufficient and improving livelihood options, especially for women, by scaling up self-help group activities,” said an official from the CMO.

It has been left to the local administration to decide how best the funds can be utilised in these areas.

The CMO is hoping the initiative will yield tangible results within a year. The range of activities carried out through self-help groups including dairy business to goat farms are extensive and can prove to be support system for a family struggling with failed farm sector. Self-help groups will be given technical and financial help to scale up its activities such as providing linkages to markets, specialized training, assistance in creating basic infrastructure.

“We have held workshops of banks that will provide farm credit in these villages and will pool together various government schemes and subsidies to give the villagers a leg-up. The key is to have a direct

interface with farmers,” said Lalit Varade, sub-divisional officer in Amravati.

For instance in Ekdara, central bank of India held a workshop for the first time to explain how farm credit will be disbursed and hear complaints from villagers on the issue.

So far, meetings have been held in these villages with all senior-level officials from the district administration and across departments to hear from locals which areas they would like help to work out village-level plans for the coming year. “If we can pull this off in small villages, it can work as a model for others,” said Varade.