Nagpur: In a surprising development, the Maharashtra government has decided to appoint a prominent farmers' activist to head a panel to curb farmland suicides and recommend agro-reforms.
Tentatively named 'Farmers Distress Management Task Force', it will be headed by Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) president Kishore Tiwari, who has spent over 15 years in the field of the agriculture crises.
"Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis called me up and informed me about the government decision," Tiwari told IANS.
A veteran of farmers' movements, Tiwari, 56, plans to streamline and ensure implementation of food, health and financial security in the 14 districts worst hit by agrarian crises, farmer suicides and other issues.
"Since the past decade, several reports of several central and state experts' commissions are either idling or are poorly implemented. I shall study these and suggest to the government ways and means to implement them and prevent farmer suicides," Tiwari said.
He said Fadnavis has assured that the recommendations of the proposed panel - which would have executive powers - would be implemented on priority.
Tiwari was an activist of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and the Bharatiya Janata Party but was moved by farmer's plight.
Around 2000, he gave up mainstream politics and offers from the corporate world to dedicate himself to the cause of peasants.
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