By Vijay Darda | 09-10-2017
Most critical question is how hazardous pesticide reached the farmers? It is necessary to fix the responsibility.
Every government claims that it is sympathetic to the issues of farmers, but the reality is that the farmers are still deprived of their rightful dues. Politicians ask for votes in the name of farmers and become farmer-leaders. They get elected to the State Assemblies or the Parliament on the strength of the farmers. But once elected they do nothing except deceiving the farmers. In this country, a farmer is called Annadata but his condition is not hidden from anyone. It is ironical that the deaths of 34 farmers due to the ill effects of pesticides did not move the State or the Central government.
Neither the government nor the leaders understand that any country becomes great only when it protects the interests of its farmers. But we have never made meaningful efforts to make the farmers prosperous! Commission after commission is constituted to go into the problems of farmers. The reports of the commissions see heated debates in the State Assemblies and the Lok Sabha so that the news and photos are published prominently in newspapers and aired on TV channels. Those resorting to such tactics later derive sadist pleasure of having befooled the farmers! After debates, the reports are consigned to the files that keep gathering dust. Can the government similarly take for granted any other class of society? Does the government find the uneducated farmers weak enough to keep befooling them! Is this the idea that underlies the step-motherly treatment meted out to the farming community?
I believe that in the last 70 years, farmers have made this country self sufficient in foodgrain through their hard work. There was a time when we used to depend only on imports but now our country exports foodgrain and other agriculture produce. In spite of this, the government never thought of giving any concession to the farming as an industry. Land is acquired from farmers at a cheaper rate to establish industries. These industries get round the clock water supply, electricity and all other logistical facilities, in addition to the credit facility. The government leaves no stone unturned to promote and market the industrial products at home and abroad. Ministers and officials travel abroad for the purpose.
I am not against providing facilities to industries, but I have a question as to why the government does not provide the necessary facilities to the farmers too? The government does not arrange for better farming training, high quality seeds, safe pesticides and adequate water supply for irrigation. Our governments have never imagined that a cluster of farmers’ land should be formed. Farming never gives profits in pieces and that is why in many countries 10,000 to 20,000 acres or more land is clustered for cultivation under the cooperatives. The division ratio of the profits also corresponds to the same. Actually, the government has never paid attention to modern farming. Our farmers are condemned to get poor quality of seeds, face water shortage, drought, and not get remunerative prices for their produce. Many a time the condition becomes such that the farmer leaves his crop in the field because the money required to cart the crop to the market is more than the money he gets after selling the crop! Has any government ever thought about it?
The bank does not hesitate to write-off bad debts amounting to Rs 13 lakh crore to Rs 15 lakh crore in this country. Nobody objects to this kind of profligacy. But if a farmer owes a few thousand rupees to the bank, his property is seized. I have no hesitation in saying that big projects were launched in the name of irrigation and most of them became victims of scams as thousands of crores of rupees went down the drain. The reports of the inquiry commissions have been suppressed. The scamsters are moving freely.
The cumulative effect of this kind of lopsided priority is that today the farmers are committing suicide across the country. Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region has earned notoriety due to farmers’ suicides. It is unfortunate that the region had to witness the day when pesticide used by the farmer to protect his crop took his own life! What an irony? The pesticide that is banned worldwide is sold here. What is the agriculture ministry of our country doing? A case of murder should be filed against all those who are selling this dangerous pesticide. But this will not happen because the government itself shields the guilty.
If there is an incident in a school, its directors are put behind the bars in no time; if a patient dies in a private hospital the directors are sent to jail and if there is an accident in a factory, the factory owner is jailed. But despite a spate of rail accidents, no officer or top railway officials have been jailed. This attitude is not right. The government should have the same attitude towards the culprits, be it an official of the government department or the private sector!
Before I conclude…
The daughters of our country are really doing amazing things. In the World Wushu Championship in Russia, CRPF head-constable’s daughter Pooja Kadian won the gold medal for India for the first time. Wushu is a kind of Chinese martial art. World Championship is being held every alternate year since 1991, but it is for the first time that India won the gold medal. Congratulations Pooja Kadian!