Thursday, December 29, 2005

The swelling `Register of Deaths'

The Hindu : Opinion / News Analysis : The swelling `Register of Deaths'

A Sainath article on the Vidarbha suicides. The article deciphers details of the Rs 1045 crore relief package and reports that it is not had any affect at all and how the package is in reality the money from many other programs and part of which the government owes the farmers anyway.

The Government's response has been to crack down on private moneylenders. Over 500 sahucars have been booked in Vidharbha since the drive against them began a month ago.
In itself a welcome action, it has misfired for two reasons. The banks still do not give loans to farmers. And secondly, the new sahucars, that is, the input dealers and others, are left untouched. With the small village sahucars on the run, there is now no source of credit at all for many.
"None of the real issues have been touched," says Mr. Jawandia. "Not the burning problem of price. Not credit. Not the headache of mounting imports. Nor the damage that BT cotton is doing, pushing so many farmers over the edge. The package is not even about shifting money from one pocket to another. It's about stealing from both pockets. Now, with the changes in the marketing rules, private traders rule the roost. The middlemen have become the top men."

Wonder what it will take the goverments to realize the seriousness of the matter and treat the agriculture sector with the highest priority.

Related to the above news, the AP government has decided to file a case against Monsanto, the Bt Cotton seeds and pesticides supplier. Monsanto is blacklisted and its BT cotton seed banned in AP.

The State Government has decided to file a case against Monsanto Biotech Limited before the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission for collecting an "abnormally high price" from farmers for Bt cottonseed on which it enjoys a monopoly.

Would be also interesting to know how Bt Cotton is doing in Vidarbha in terms of crop yeilds.

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