Madhya Pradesh: Many farmers commit suicide over crop failure -Anup Dutta
Not surprisingly, the plight of farmers has become a political issue ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, with ruling BJP and opposition Congress trading charges.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who had sought a relief package from the Centre to help the affected farmers, has alleged that the attitude of Union government was "indifferent and apathetic."
Following rains and hailstorms, the affected farmers have laid siege to government offices and are demanding compensation in several parts of the state. They have been unhappy with the delayed payment of compensation and unsatisfactory 'crop loss survey.'
This year, the chief minister has decided that the survey will not be conducted solely by the revenue department, but by a joint team of revenue and agriculture departments. Collectors have been made responsible to ensure that a fair survey is conducted within time. However, the farmers are clearly not satisfied.
On Wednesday, farmers of Damoh, Sagar and Chattarpur districts staged a 'chakka jam' on the Damoh-Chattarpur State Highway, alleging irregularities in 'crop loss survey'. They demanded that the compensation be paid to them at the earliest. The farmers called off 'chakka jam' after receiving assurance by the district administration. "The farmers agreed to end their agitation after persuasion and assurance," Patahriya sub divisional magistrate told Mail Today.
While the farmers face hardships, politics over their trouble is brewing. The state government had demanded a special relief package of Rs.5,000 crore from the Centre. But the package has not yet arrived. Chouhan and several of his Cabinet colleagues had sat on a protest fast while a state-wide bandh was observed on March 6 against the Union government's "indifferent and pathetic" attitude.
On Thursday, Chouhan met Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde in New Delhi and sought a Rs.5,700-crore package for the farmers who have suffered. At the meeting Chouhan apprised Shinde that houses, livestock and infrastructure, including roads and electrical transformers, were also badly affected by the rains and hailstorm.
"I have urged the home minister to announce a package of Rs.5,723 crore for the relief and rehabilitation of those who were affected due to the unseasonal rains and hailstorm," he said after the meeting. Chouhan said he has requested the Union government to waive loans taken by the farmers and speedy clearance of all insurance claims.
The chief minister had earlier requested President Pranab Mukherjee to intervene in the matter and declare the situation a national calamity.