Loan waiver: west Vidarbha gets only Rs. 507 crore

Special Correspondent

MUMBAI: The suicide-prone farmers of west Vidarbha, crushed under the collapsing agrarian economy, have received only Rs.507 crore of the Rs. 71,000 crore loan waiver announced by the Union government as against Rs.5700 crore received by western Maharashtra.

“It is a mockery of the dying farmers of Vidarbha as only ten per cent of the total debt of Rs.5876 crore is waived and 80 per cent of the distressed farmers are excluded from the waiver scheme,” Mr. Kishore Tiwari, president of the Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, told The Hindu.

Mr. Tiwari said prosperous farmers in western Maharashtra, the political stronghold of Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, benefited the most as the total loan waiver amount for Pune and Nashik divisions crossed Rs. 5700 crore.

Besides, these farmers were also getting a relief of Rs. 2680 crore under the One Time Settlement (OTS) scheme as per the State government’s cooperative department’s record, he said.

Over 6000 cotton growers of Vidarbha have committed suicide since June 2005 due to the agrarian crisis and the debt burden. Mr. Tiwari said the flow of fresh credit had not taken place as promised by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. After the earlier interest waiver of Rs. 840 crore given in the Prime Minister’s relief package of 2006, over a million farmers were given fresh crop loans. But this number dwindled to 4.56 lakh in 2007 and after the Rs.71,000 crore waiver, NABARD was proposing to cover only 2.3 lakh farmers. This would break the credit cycle of 2.8 million farmers in distress, he said.

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