कृषी देश

एक विचार, एक प्रवास!!

कृषी एक कला, कृषी एक संयम, कृषी एक समर्पण, कृषी एक आधार…

Posted by Sandeep Shelke on 2nd January 2010

I think we need to discuss agriculture in its true perspective barring all the commercialization around it for time being. Because, I believe it such a profession in the world which is directly related to every soul on the face of earth.

Here is what I think:

“कृषी एक कला, कृषी एक संयम, कृषी एक समर्पण, कृषी एक आधार.”

1. कृषी एक कला [Farming is an Art]:

If we consider all the implications around farming, we can realize that Farming is one of very superior and rich form of art in the living world. Farmers have to consider natural calamities, water availability, need, budget, work capacity, labour management, sales, marketing and many more… It is difficult for any other profession to do all these jobs single-handedly. But now they are failing to do so why? Does this mean its an outdated art now?

2. कृषी एक संयम [Farming is Patience]:

When a farmer sows seeds, for example paddy/onion/wheat, he has to nurture the farm till it yields; that is somewhere around 4 months without any returns. Farmers just invest their resources be it money, time, efforts, heart… and wait till yielding day. But still they did it successfully in past. But now they are failing, why? Have they lost patience?

3. कृषी एक समर्पण [Farming is Devotion]:

At every rubbi/kharip season farmer prepares for another season by forgetting all failures and obstacles in past. Farmer gears up for the new inning with full devotion and dedication. The devotion and dedication are without any limits. Like farmer sales/mortgages everything to fund the crop expenses, sleeps in the field, eats in the field; with the hope that crop will yield good returns and then he/she can recover the investment. And they were successfully achieving the targets. But now they are failing to recover the capital too let aside the profit and their labour charges, why? Aren’t they dedicated and devoted any more?

4. कृषी एक आधार [Farming is a Support]:

In a true sense farming is the main support for living world. Farmers work in fields and produce much-needed food. [What they get in return is a well-known fact. Like free electricity, but only for 4Hrs a day, subsidy on swelled prices of seeds (earlier home-grown seed used to cost only Rs.10-15 per Kg and now the company manufactured costs Rs.2000 per Kg), which farmers never ask, but politicians do]. Think for a while what would happen if farmers start killing themselves like they are doing now(200000+ (0.2million) farmers have committed suicide since 1997). From where we would get the food to serve our daily needs? Earlier there wasn’t any need to think about their support as it was there and it is there now too. But nowadays farmers are loosing support from both community and government, why? have they stopped supporting us?

What will happen ifAlso the large scale survey shows that given a chance almost 40% farmers are willing to quit farming permanently this comes to reality? Read full article here.

“कृषितोनास्ति दुर्भिक्षं” – Dearth of farming is famine.

So I think for our own betterment we need to do some self-check to do the justice and extent our support towards the needy section of the society.

Open for discussion/comments.

जय भारत!

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Living with drought!! Is this a curse of Nature or ignorance by Bharat and Rajya Sarkar

Posted by Sandeep Shelke on 8th December 2009

While browsing through the India Together website I came across this report which says the tragedy of village dwellers, poor, especially farmers. The ignorance by Bharat sarkar is by and largely responsible for the sorrow condition of farmers.

******************* Excerpts from Kannan Kasturi’s Report **********************

**********************************************************************************
29 October 2009

Large parts of the country have had poor rainfall this year, and so the word ‘drought’ is on a lot of lips this these days, but in one part of India, it seems more permanent. Bundelkhand – the region of Central India between the Yamuna and the Narmada – has lived with drought for five of the last six years, the sole exception being 2008. The region’s 13 districts figure in all the lists of “most backward” districts compiled by the central government. People here are reportedly the beneficiaries of various schemes for drought mitigation.

I am traveling through this region, accompanying a group that has decided to come here to get first hand accounts of how farmers are coping with the drought. As we travel, I learn the lay of the land, and its history. Bundelkhand includes almost the entire course of the rivers Betwa, Dhasan and Ken. These flow down from the Vindhyas to confluence with the Yamuna and cradle the towns of Jhansi, Chhatarpur and Sagar, the diamond mines of Panna and the fabulous temples of Khajuraho. The region is united by its language – Bundeli – and a largely shared history and culture of over 1000 years but is divided administratively between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Our first stop is Mamna village in Hamirpur district of Uttar Pradesh, a settlement of about 10,000 people. We begin talking to a couple of villagers and soon a crowd gathers around us. With no irrigation available to them, the kharif crops are a total loss, say the villagers. They are struggling even for drinking water, sometimes having to transport it from a neighboring village. Harish Kumar has had a job card (guaranteeing him a job under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) for 2 years at least. He was given some work for 1.5 months, and shows an injury sustained while working; however, he has not been paid. The date of registration on his job card has been overwritten twice to make it unclear when the card was issued. There are no work entries in the booklet.

Small farmers in Mamna Village, Hamirpur District, UP holding their 2 year old job cards. There are no work entries in their cards.

Seeing our interest in the job cards, the villagers collect over 10 job cards without any entries in a few minutes. They are all small farmers with a few bighas of land each, and willing to take up any work – but they say none is available. They show the compensation cheques they have got from the state government after the area has been declared drought affected – most are for Rs.250, less than 3 days’ wages, for the loss of their kharif crop.

Some steps away, Durjan Chamar, a cobbler in his late sixties, sits forlornly with his tools outside his house waiting for customers. His daughters have married and left home, and having no sons he and his wife have to continue the struggle for a livelihood. He has thepatta for three bighas of land given by the government, but as there is no water, there are no crops to be had. There are few customers for his skills in this village. He has tried to obtain work under the NREGA, but without success.

Basket weaving seems to be the sole non-farming related source of income in the village. Not just old men, even able bodied young men can be seen weaving daliyas (baskets) from dried stalks. The baskets fetch Rs.10 each and an old man we talk to says he can make only 3 baskets in a day. He receives no old age pension and is too old to take up any other work.

A large number of the small and marginal farmers have left the village in search of work. They travel to the nearby UP towns to work in brick kilns and to distant Delhi to work in the construction industry or in the factories in the NCR as unskilled labor or even driving rickshaws. We are told that a bus full of migrants from Mamna and neighboring villages has fallen into the Yamuna recently.

Durjan Chamar, a cobbler, displays his job card which has no work entries. There is no demand in the village for his skills and no produce from his 3 bigha land.

On a lane leading to the center of the village, a man sits in the front room of his thatched cottage running his sewing machine. He continues to work as we sit across on a charpoy and talk. His name is Jagdish he tells us, but everyone in the village calls him Bhikari Lal, a name used by his mother to shield her only child from evil eyes.

A farmer with 2 acres, he has turned to tailoring and leased his land for a 50 per cent share of the produce. The income from the land hardly counts. He has already spent a number of years in Kandla and is back now to look after his wife and two children after his mother passed away. He could earn Rs 300 per day in Gujarat, while back in the village, he can at best earn half that amount and the payment does not come easily as the villagers do not have ready cash. He is particular about the education of his children and sends them to a private school; the quality of teaching at the government school, he says, cannot be trusted.

……………………
We walk to a basti populated by the poor Raikwar community – people who traditionally work in water related occupations – to get a different picture. Swami Prasad has a job card that was made in January 2006. He has not got even a single day’s work till now. But it is not Swami Prasad alone. Everyone in a group that collects around us have the same story. Job cards are there, but no jobs. Only people close to the Pradhan get work, we hear. No Panchayat Inspector or Block CEO leave alone Collector has ever visited the community, according to these residents. Some of them have been out – to Delhi, Noida and Punjab – to look for jobs and come back after working a while. After Deepawali, some of them will head out again. More than half the people from this village of 10,000 have migrated outside the state seeking work.

A government school just across from where we are standing has a board displayed that declares the menu for the mid day meal each day – the menu includes rice, different dals and green and other vegetables. According to the residents, the children only get rice gruel. The open well in the colony has not been cleaned for ages and has been rendered unfit for use. It would cost just Rs.3000-4000 to clean the well and some people would have got jobs – but this is not a priority of the panchayat. The school has its own well. Residents have to wait for the school to open to lift their water.

Meghraj Singh in front of his hut. He has been denied a BPL card – so he can get no rations except Kerosene.

Adhiyara, a village in Chattarpur District has over 400 families split between the communities of Thakurs, Harijans and Adivasis. There are only 5 bore wells in the village of which 2 are private and one belongs to the school and one has been set up in the Harijan basti. The lone public bore well functions only when there is power. Sometimes, the village has no power for weeks. People are forced to go to neighboring villages for water, walking 2-3 km. In summer, if there is no electricity, women sometimes stand all night in line waiting for water.

At least 100 families have migrated to Delhi, Ludhiana, Punjab and other places, we are told. People with small children migrate with their entire family leaving behind an elderly person to look after their house and cattle. Many small farmers have given their land on lease to others for a fixed sum or a share of the crop. NREGA work is available only for 10-15 people and the Panchayat President distributes it among his friends, the residents allege.

Meghraj Singh has 7 acres of land and is one of three brothers. He is not entitled to a BPL card though he lives in a crude hut. His crop has completely failed. There are two ponds near the village with rain water that is used for watering the cows – but no irrigation is available for the fields. He says farming is unviable and that there are no alternate sources of employment.

The Adivasi hamlet of 20 families is at the far end of the village. Only a few emaciated old men are to be seen around – the younger men have apparently migrated. Their condition is pathetic – no job cards or jobs, no ration cards (BPL or APL), no pension, no compensation for crops lost. There is no government intervention here where the people are most in need. The only forest product available to them is Mahua. The only work is gathering tendu leaves for the forest contractors for which they are paid based on quantity of collection.

Nathu Singh, a farmer with 15 acres land in Adhiyara village, district Chhatarpur has only one plea – “Please tell them to solve our drinking water problem.”

Paglu tells us he owns 2 acres but they are useless to him. There is no work to be had in the village even with the bigger farmers. He has worked in cities but he doesn’t like it there and prefers to remain in his village. At one time, they used to hunt in the nearby forests but the government has taken away their firearm licenses.

On our way out of the village we meet Nathu Singh. He has 15 acres land. Lest we think he is prosperous, he quickly explains that he has a large family – 3 boys and 3 girls. One can see that he is but a shadow of his former proud self. He has only one plea – please, please tell the authorities to solve our drinking water problem.

All the villages we visit present the same story – complete crop failure for the small and marginal farmers who depended on the rains coupled with a lack of local employment opportunities. The much touted employment guarantee scheme of the government is not functional where it is most needed forcing large scale migration on the landless and even on small farmers. At close quarters, the picture of the panchayati raj is unedifying – viewed, as it is, as being all pervasively corrupt. The rains may have failed Bundelkhand but it is the governments of the two States, and at the Centre who have forsaken the people.

जय हिंद!

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18% Vidarbha farmer suicides in 2009 genuine, says Bharat Sarkar

Posted by Sandeep Shelke on 6th December 2009

18% Vidarbha farmer suicides in 2009 genuine, says govt – Times Of India Pune

TNN 12 September 2009, 05:30am IST

AMRAVATI: The spate of farmer suicides is continuing in Vidarbha region. Hundreds of farmers have ended their lives this year but few have proved to be eligible to be counted as genuine cases, resulting in their kin not getting compensation or other benefits from the government. Activists claimed that the officials are merely following the orders from the chief minister’s office to keep farmer suicide numbers as low as possible. Though the situation has improved after implementation of the packages, the numbers are still worrying. In year 2009, till July 31, around 466 farmers in six suicide prone districts committed suicide. But only 86 – roughly 18.45% – were considered eligible for compensation which government offers to the next of kin. Ninety-six cases are under probe and 284 cases have been rejected by government. From 2001 to July 31 this year, 5,503 farmers committed suicide out of which 2,030 cases were found eligible for benefits of the government while 3,377 were non eligible and 96 are under investigation. Sources from the commissionerate stated that a compensation of Rs 1 lakh is provided to eligible beneficiaries of which Rs 30,000 paid in cash while Rs 70,000 deposited in the account of the farmer. Only those cases in which farmers committed suicide due to in indebtedness, excess follow up by a bank or moneylender for repayments and low yield are considered to be eligible for the compensation. The district collector heads a committee which comprises officials of the departments concerned and NGO representatives to review farmer suicide cases. Talathi of the village does the enquiry of the farmers on various grounds and then eligibility of the beneficiary is decided. Kishor Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, while talking to TOI, claimed that Chief Minister Ashok Chavan himself had told officials not to show more number of beneficiaries on record and officials are following the orders. Tiwari also said that the administration has put forth the flimsy reasons to reject the case. “The administration is insensitive towards the problems of the farmers,” he said. The government issued a GR regarding non-eligible beneficiaries in February this year in which it was stated that the benefits of the Antyodaya Scheme should be extended to the widows of farmers who were not considered eligible for ex-gratia. “Except Yavatmal district, this scheme is not being implemented properly,” said Tiwari.

What do you think? Where are we going?

We have price rise on one side and farmer suicide on other, who is being benefited?

जय हिंद!

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