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Provide loan waiver to drought hit farmers

The drought situation is getting increasingly bad and we find dry river bed all over the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions and the position is pathetic. The Rabi crops in the villages were ruined in drought and the sad state of widowed women of this region due to spurt of suicides sends a signal for the State Agricultural Minister to act swiftly with the help of the central government to make things move in proper direction.  The present status is really bad with 938 more villages were declared drought hit and needs attention. In all nearly 30,000 villages are affected by drought and water shortage pose a big problem.

The state government has been supplying water to Latur through Railway Wagons since the second week of April and the total stock of water has come down drastically form 19 per cent to 16 per cent and the situation may go from bad to worse in the next month. This for the first time that large number of villages have been affected by drought and the hope of getting early rains appear a remote possibility. By providing major exemption to the farmers in the affected areas, the farmers can be given a glimmer of hope. Loan waiver in the drought hit areas is a must to avoid the suicide menace in the state. The drought affect have taken the country by storm in general and Marathwada and Vidarbha in particular. It is time to adopt a scientific way to grow crops with reduction in irrigating them as the position in the last 10 years is showing signs of a depleted look.

The sad state of farmers committing suicide in Marathwada and Vidharba region is a pathetic position of a privileged class of people once upon a time now dying in harness.  The loan facility availed by them to improve their crop production has gone against them. Moreover drought situation cuts the crop production by 70 per cent and the water levels are critically low in this region at present. Having failed to repay the loans, the farmers were in a fix, after pressure being applied on them by the lenders and the people below the poverty line have no option but to take the extreme position.  State administration totally failed and we can hear many more deaths in this pocket.

Media should highlight the misery of farmers and make Banks and co-operative houses to help them in a big way to come out of the rut. Bank team should camp in these areas stricken by drought and make sure that the requirements of farmers are met with immediate effect and save them from further disaster.  It is now or never situation and the state machinery should work in unison and save the souls committing suicides. There should be an end to this perennial problem and the Marathwada mystery should be solved forthwith.

A team of bankers can camp in areas like Vidarbha, Yavatmal, Amravati, Akola, Wardha and Washim to give confidence to the farmers living in suicide prone areas.  New Scheme to give an interest free overdraft of Rs. 25000 per farmer can be formulated to arrest such suicidal deaths.  Farmers are the backbone of our country and so many deaths in a single state ring the alarm bells and it is time to act swiftly.  Just like doctors camping an earthquake hit areas or a flood affected areas, bankers should pump money to take a step in the right direction. Major share of Prime Minister’s Rs.25000 crore aid should reach the farmers of Maharashtra before the ensuing monsoon rains so as to help them plan for a better future, which include better crop production in the ensuing years. It is time to call an emergency meeting to solve this sensitive issue.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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