Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Farm widows, farmers to agitate for separate Vidarbha state-Press Trust of India

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Farm widows, farmers to agitate for separate Vidarbha state

Hundreds of farm widows and hail hit farmers in the district are likely to stage protest on Maharashtra Day to demand separate statehood to Vidarbha.

"Five million farmers recently hit by hailstorm and massive rain, enduring crop damage worth more than Rs 10 crore have been seeking government's help," Vidarbha Jan Andolan president Samit Kishore Tiwari said.

In spite of the Maharashtra government declaring Rs 4,000 crore as relief in March this year and Rs 3000 crore announced as relief last year, farmers have continued to commit suicide.

The government is apathetic towards more than 12,000 farm widows of cotton farmers who committed suicide since 2005, forcing them to starve, since their basic demands of food and family security pension have not been met, he said.

Tiwari said that Vidarbha region's agrarian crisis is the result of 54 years of apathy by the Maharashtra government which has treated it as its "colony" and continued to loot its abundant natural resources.

He said that the Maharashtra government has denied food security, healthcare and employment opportunities to more than 5 million farmers and 6 million tribals, which amounts to a complete betrayal of all promises made to the people when Maharashtra state was formed on May 1, 1960.

People want a complete reassessment of the situation and separate statehood for the Vidarbha region from the yoke of Maharashtra, in order to stop farmers and tribals from committing suicide, he said.

Meanwhile, the All India Forward Bloc led by former MP Jambhuwantrao Dhote has declared Maharashtra day as 'Black Day' and announced plans to protest at Netaji Bhuvan here on May 1 for separate statehood to the Vidarbha region.

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