Vidarbha farmers demand time bound budgetary allocations

Nagpur: Key farmers' advocacy group in the drought-prone Vidarbha region, Janandolan Samiti here demanded from the Centre to provide time bound budgetary allocation in the upcoming Union budget to address the acute agrarian crisis with focus on credit, cost and crop issues.

Maharashtra's Vidarbha region has witnessed hundreds of suicides by the farmers in the past due to debt, drought and crop failure.

When the state government officially declared that 60 per cent of its villages were facing a "severe drought" of the century, last year, affecting almost 90 lakh farmers in state, 23,811 of state's total 39,453 villages fall under this category after complete kharif crop was damaged, Samiti president, Kishore Tiwari, said in a press release here.

Vidarbha region experienced fourth drought in the state since 2008 in row, forcing more than 40,000 debt-trapped farmers to kill themselves during the period, he claimed.

All relief packages never focused on credit, cost and crop issues, hence failed to curb the existing distress this year too. The state government has released relief worth Rs 2,000 crore so far, and moreover asked the Central government for aid worth Rs 4,800 crore which is being denied since November 2014, Tiwari said.

"Hence, in view of the neglected farmers, it was high time that the Centre looks at agrarian crisis seriously in Vidarbha and announce integrated solution plan to address existing despair," Tiwari said urging Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to look into the matter.

He said the NDA ruling-government had made Vidarbha farm suicide a major election issue and had promised of better cost and credit for farm produce but economic agenda and recent statements of ministers and officials, reflect that are deviating from their promises.

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