Reacting to Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s promises to farmers at an election meeting at Wardha in Maharashtra on Thursday, RTI and farm activist Bharatsinh Jhala said that these were mere “hollow claims’’. Giving figures about farmers’ suicide cases in Gujarat that he claimed to have got through RTI applications, he said that there were 614 instances of suicide by farmers during 2007-2012.
He said that while 489 farmers committed suicide during 2003-2007, another 125 committed suicide during 2008-2012 due to the failure of their crops and their inability to pay debts. “If Modi was really sensitive to the farmers’ issue, as he claimed at his public meting at Wardha, why did so many farmers commit suicide in his own state?”, Jhala asked. “Farmers’ suicide indicate that Modi is not serious about the issue and he is making only false promises just to win elections,” he pointed out.
Giving the break-up of figures, he said that the majority of farmers’ suicide in Gujarat took place in Jamnagar district (48), followed by 21 in Junagadh, 13 in Kheda and 12 in Rajkot between 2008 and 2012. “When farmers are committing suicide in Gujarat, Modi is busy in promoting his image to become prime minister,” Jhala said.
Regarding Modi’s comments on interlinking of rivers, Jhala said that there were several rivers in South Gujarat whose water was wasted as it all fell into the sea. “Had these rivers been interlinked, much of the irrigation problem in south and central Gujarat could have been solved,” said Jhala. “But Modi has done nothing about interlinking rivers in his home state,” he said. “Let Modi begin interlinking rivers from his native state itself if he is really serious about alleviating the conditions of farmers,” he said.
Modi meets farmers in Yavatmal
Dabhdi: Narendra Modi Thursday spelt out his vision for agriculture, stressing that he favoured policies that would double per-hectare production with innovative practices at low cost, usher in land reforms and promote use of technology, value-addition with agro-based industries and direct market linkage. He was talking to farmers from across the country at a ‘chai pe charcha’ programme in this hailstorm-affected village of Yavatmal district — one of the 35 most suicide-affected districts in the country. ENS