Friday, March 26, 2010

Indian Farmer Suicides Still on the Rise - So much for Jai Jawan Jai Kisan!

Growing up in Punjab as a kid, one of the common logos on the farm tractors, goods trucks and other vehicles that was common in the 60's, 70's and 80's was "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan" loosely translated to "Vitory to the Soldier, Victory to the Farmer" with one side bearing picture of a soldier and other side a picture of a farmer.  The logo was given by the Prime Minister of India "Lal Bahadur Shastri"  That was the time when government wanted people to skip one meal in a day so others can have meal to eat.

Now with the all of the news about farmers committing suicides, farmer unions getting a bad rap from politician and police in India. It is a sad state of affairs.  I don't understand why people committ suicide, but I am not the one to judge. I have written a blog post on how Sikhism and suicide is an oxymoron because Sikhs are always supposed to stay in chardi kala (rising spirit or unlimited optimism against all odds). Recently, I have read about two to three murders of Kisan union leaders in Punjab and arrest of several others. It is a sad state of things and seems like a never ending cycle. Thank God for farmers and May God bless them for what they do for humanity! There should not be even a single suicide of a farmer. Shame on India! Shame on all of the other states! To farmers, I say "Educate yourself and diversify your crops".

Why can't Punjab and other state's Chief Ministers perform like Uttarakhand Chielf below:

Highest SAP for Cane
BKU’s Tikait compliments Nishank
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, December 9
Mahendra Singh Tikait, leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), today met Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and complimented him for announcing the highest state advised price (SAP) of sugarcane in the country for sugarcane. The Chief Minister reiterated his resolve to work for the benefit of sugarcane farmers, sugarcane cooperative societies as well as the sugar mills for the overall development of the state.

Uttarkhand Sugarcane Minister Madan Kaushik, who was also present at the meeting, said the Uttarakhand government had been fully committed to the welfare of the farmers of the state.

Tikait also gave a memorandum of farmers’ demands to the Chief Minister. He demanded the formation of a Farmers’ Commission in the state besides the removal of penalty on domestic power bills of farmers, withdrawal of cases lodged against farmers during the agitation and transport subsidy for hill farmers.

In two years, farm suicides doubled in Rajasthan
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service
Jaipur, March 26
Even as states like Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra may have hit the headlines for farmer suicides in the past, it is Rajasthan where the number of farmer suicides has more than doubled over the last two years.
According to the latest National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) figures, 796 persons with farming background committed suicide in Rajasthan in 2008 as against 395 in 2006, which means a surge of over 100 per cent. Interestingly, during the same period, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh have witnessed a significant decline in the number of farmer suicides. Also, other major farming states like UP and Punjab lag behind Rajasthan.
In 2006, agriculture-related suicides were 9.3 per cent of the total number of suicides in the desert state, which went up to 13.9 per cent in 2007 and 15.4 per cent in 2008.
As per the report, the total number of suicides by farmers has dipped nationally, but it has gone up in the country’s eight states - Rajasthan, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. The figures are important in view of the multi-crore loan waiver scheme offered by the Congress-led UPA government ahead of the last year’s Lok Sabha elections.
These figures, when seen in view of a recent report ‘Combined Finances of Union and State Governments’, bring to the fore the fact that all states that registered an increase in farmer suicides, except Chhattisgarh, had a very poor per capita expenditure on agriculture. Also, all states, except West Bengal, that recorded a fall have a very high per capita expenditure on agriculture.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Agriculture Minister Harjiram Burdak claimed that the suicides had nothing to do with crop failure or rising debt, two factors largely blamed for such incidents in other parts of the country. His stand has not come as a surprise, particularly when the ruling Congress has been trying to project itself as pro-farmer ever since its ascent to power in December 2008.
Even in his recent Budget, CM Ashok Gehlot announced a slew of measures for the farmers.

Farmer unions flay arrests to thwart dharna Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 24
The Kirti Kisan Union (KKU), Punjab Kisan Union (PKU) and Pendu Mazdoor Union (PMU) have criticised Parkash Singh Badal-led SAD-BJP government for arresting a number of farmer unions’ activists from different parts of the state, including Dr Darshan Pal from Patiala, to thwart their attempt to hold a dharna outside the office of the IG, Border Range, on March 25.

In a separate press notes issued here today, general secretary of PKS Lehmber Singh Taggar, KKU state president Nirbhai Singh Dhudike and PMU state chief Tarsem Peter alleged that the government adopted undemocratic ways to foil the proposed dharna, the call for which had been given by 22 mazdoor-kisan organisations in favour of their several demands.

Meanwhile, most of the leaders and workers belonging to different mazdoor-kisan organisations have gone underground to avoid their arrests.

Farmers’ arrest condemned

Hoshiarpur, March 24
Bhup Chand Chano and Gurmesh Singh, president and general secretary, respectively, of the All-India Khet Mazdoor Union, Punjab, condemned the arrest of farmers and farm labourers in an “undemocratic” way.

In a press note here yesterday, both leaders urged the Punjab Governor to register a case of murder and arrest those police officials responsible for killing of tehsil president of the Tarn Taran unit of the union Kashmir Singh.

They said it had been decided that 22 unions of farmers and rural farm labourers would stage a peaceful protest march and hold a dharna in front of the office of the DIG, Boarder Range, from March 25 to 27 to pressurise the state police to arrest the killers of Sadhu Singh Thaktupura and assailants of five farmers who were roaming scot-free. — OC
Labourer union leader cremated

Tarn Taran, March 24
Kashmir Singh (60), leader of the All-India Khet Mazdoor Union, was cremated at his native village Palasaur, 4 km from here, today.

Kashmir died of heart failure when a police party raided his residence last night to take him in custody to prevent him from taking part in the proposed dharna to be staged at the residence of the IG, Border Range, Amritsar, from March 25. A number of communist workers attended the cremation. Vijay Mishra, state committee member of the CPI (M), demanded for a grant of Rs 10 lakh to the bereaved family and government job for a kin of the deceased. — OC


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