Posts filed under ‘Farmer Suicide’

Spectre of drought haunts Balangir district: The Pioneer

Following article is from The Pioneer:

The spectre of drought has haunted the Balangir district this year, as the monsoon rain has turned truant, with the district hardly recording any significant rainfall both in the month of June and till mid-July.

The Kharif paddy cultivation of the district is totally dependent on the monsoon rainfall but it has been severely hit due to scant rainfall till date. There was shortage of paddy seeds and fertiliser this year but farmers had taken up the paddy cultivation with high hope of good rainfall. However, contrary to their expectations, the inadequate rainfall has withheld the agriculture operations.

According to official sources, against the normal average rainfall of 202.8 mm in June, the district received a rainfall of 105.5 mm, a 48 per cent deficit rainfall. Rather than any improvement, the situation continues to be depressing and till July 12 last, the district has received a rainfall of 64.5 mm against the normal rainfall average of 360 mm.

Against the target of paddy cultivation in 1,87,000 hectares of land, the cultivation has been taken up in 75,404 hectares only, barely on 40 per cent of land, said official sources. The irregularity of rain has further brought agriculture operations, now at various stages, to a grinding halt.

“We have noticed moisture stress condition in the soil and unless there is rain within five to seven days, the moisture stress condition would spread to the plant resulting in yellowing and browning and eventual death/wilting of the plant,” said an agriculture official. However, there are reports of paddy plant getting brownish due to shortage of water. We desperately need rain within a week to carry forward the agriculture operations, he maintained. Ironically, most of the Mudas and Katas and other sources of water are in dry condition. Hence, the farmers have no option left except rain.

Even if now rain occurs, the whole agriculture operations would be over by the end of August and it would affect the yield. Barely a few days are left for the Hindu calendar month Shravan to end but still the roads and fields are dry. By July 15, agriculture operations should be going on full swing but this year the situation is different, rued a farmer.

July 14, 2011 at 7:26 pm Leave a comment

Balangir Haat to come up in Bhubaneswar

Following report is from The Pioneer:

The first ever visit of State Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy to Balangir began with interaction with farmers and a promise to open a Balangir Haat (market) at Bhubaneswar to prevent the distress sale of vegetables, tomato, and mango within a month, besides directing the official to visit the field and attending the grievance of farmers.

Accompanied by Principal Secretary RL Jamuda, Director Agriculture RS Gopalan and Director of Horticulture and Watershed, Maharathi listened to the farmers’ complaints. The majority of complains of farmers were related to distress sale of paddy, tomato, vegetables, hike in subsidy for digging well, shortage of paddy seed and revival of cold storage.

“No new paddy seed is arriving here. Farmers have to wait for hours to get a bag of paddy in Puintala block. With a bag of paddy what will he do?,” asked ex- MLA Muralidhar Guru to the delegation.

Besides the official sale centre, the sale centre opened under the Chief Minister’s package is yet to function. Those who have opened sale centres are yet to get their commission of last year, alleged a few farmers.

Reacting to complaints of distress sale of tomato, onion and other vegetables, Maharathi announced that a Balangir Haat would be opened at Unit –1 in Bhubneshwar within a month where farmers would sell their produce directly and get benefit. He also assured that adequate amount of seed would be sent to the district by June 15.

Reacting a to a complaint that farmers in Puintal block have not received their compensation amount, Maharathy directed the District Collector to disburse it within three days so that farmer could procure seeds and other items.

A new dress code is also in the offing for the village agriculture workers and it would be implemented within a year, informed Maharathi and directed the VAWs and other officials to treat the farmers with dignity and listen to their grievances with patience. A direct communication line would be opened between the farmers and the Ministry, he informed further.

In 1996 during the severe drought, the district administration decided to construct a tank by the side of each tube well so that a person taking water from tube well would pour some water in it and the cattle and other animals would drink water from there. However, the scheme failed with structures either damaged or non-existent, Minister was told.

The farmers said that the Government has decided to provide 90 per cent subsidy if four farmers in a cluster dig deep bore well but a deep bore well is making a tube well dry. So they suggested to the Minister to rethink over it.

To provide solution to the problem of harassment by banks in opening of account, Director Agriculture RS Gopalan directed the District Collector to take necessary steps to open zero balance account in the bank and action against them not cooperating. Gopalan also assured that the defunct seed processing unit in the district would be made functional in a month. A total of 35 farmers were honoured with shawl and citation on the occasion.

June 16, 2011 at 4:30 pm Leave a comment

Hirakud dam is no longer serving the farmers

Following is from the Samaja:

March 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm Leave a comment

Eleven new farmer suicides haunt western Orissa

Following is a NDTV report:

Bhubaneswar In a small village in Orissa’s Sambalpur district, in a small house, a family looks to its neighbours for support. 61-year-old Shukla Chand killed himself by drinking pesticide. In this part of Western Orissa, this has become a frighteningly familiar story. Since November, 11 farmers from here have killed themselves.

Farmers have been catapulted from one crisis to another in Orissa since 2009. Floods, drought, and then exceptionally heavy rainfall last year before the harvest. The deaths of 100 farmers have officially been registered as suicides. The state government says it wasn’t their failed crops that drove them to their death.

For farmers whose crops were wiped out by pre-harvest rains, the Centre has sanctioned Rs. 400 crore for Andhra Pradesh and another Rs. 600 crore for Maharashtra. No compensation for Orissa has been announced so far.

The state government, led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of the Biju Janata Dal, has offered to pay farmers Rs. 400 per acre for rain-fed areas and Rs. 800 per acre for irrigated land – only if the farmers can prove he has lost his entire crop. But farmers point out they invest at least Rs. 9,000 per acre for their paddy crop.  So the compensation being offered is worthless.

For farmers like Shukla Chand, it seems like there’s no one on their side. His suicide note says after his last crop of paddy failed just before the harvest, the loans he owed seemed insurmountable.  He had cultivated eight acres of paddy with an initial investment of Rs. 80,000.  He then took a bank loan of five lakh to buy a tractor, and another three lakh from private money lenders. When heavy rains destroyed his standing crop in November last year, he could no longer cope.

“The Centre and state are playing a cruel joke on our farmers. The policy to compensate for losses due to calamities has not kicked in. There are thousands of farmers like Shukla Chand who are not dead as yet, but on the verge of death,” says Saroj, the leader of a local cooperative of farmers.

January 18, 2011 at 8:38 am 1 comment

Scanty rains trigger drought fears in large part of western Orissa

Following is a report by IANS published in Yahoo:

Bhubaneswar, Sep 2 (IANS) Poor monsoon rains have triggered drought fears in half of Orissa, an official said Thursday. ‘At least 15 of state’s 30 districts have recorded less then normal (averagge) rains,’ a senior official of the state agriculture department told IANS.

Paddy and other kharif crops are likely to be the worst affected in the tribal populated districts of Sundergarh and Mayurbhanj, he said. A good monsoon is crucial for this eastern state which contributes almost one-tenth of India’s rice production.

Last year, 3,264 villages in 15 of the state’s 30 districts faced a drought due to a scanty monsoon and erratic rains.

‘The state had received rains 21 per cent below normal (average) by the end of August, as a result of which the threat of drought is looming in several districts’, he said.

The other districts which received less rains included Jajpur, Angul, Deogarh, Sambalpur, Keonjhar, Subarnapur, and Kendrapada, he said

September 5, 2010 at 6:50 pm Leave a comment

Drought fear in Subarnapur district

Following is a report from Oriya daily the Samaj:

September 3, 2010 at 6:10 pm Leave a comment

Insufficient rainfall and attack of swarming caterpillars:No cheer for Sambalpur farmers

Following report is from expressbuzz.com:

SAMBALPUR: Even as low pressure-induced rain has brought some respite from sultry weather, it has failed to cheer up the farmers in Sambalpur district, particularly those in rain-fed areas.

Farmers who have gone for transplantation, are awaiting more rains that would allow them to prepare the bed for transplantation. In Kuchinda sub-division, comprising blocks of Kuchinda, Jamankira and Bamra, germination drought seems imminent in rain-fed areas where farmers have sown seeds. Though there was intermittent rain today, it brought little cheer for the farmers. Normally the sub-division receives about 1,500 mm rain annually while it is 464.5 mm in July. Despite drought condition last year till July 20, Kuchinda had received 306.8 mm, Jamankira 333.5 mm while Bamra had 391.6 mm of rain. But this year till July 20, Kuchinda, Jamankira and Bamra received 68 mm, 96.1 mm and 79 mm of rain respectively.

This insufficient rainfall coupled with attack of swarming caterpillars has added to the woes of farmers. Although District Agriculture Officer Harmohan Patra said rains would help improve the situation, the ground realities present a grim scenario.

July 27, 2010 at 5:02 pm Leave a comment

Protest in Orissa over use of Mahanadi’s water by industries

Following is a report from The Sambad:

July 18, 2010 at 8:30 am Leave a comment

Sam Pitroda’s new mission to make India hunger-proof and food-reliant

Following is a report by IANS published in http://www.deccanherald.com:

Knowledge and telecommunication evangelist Sam Pitroda, currently advisor to the Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations, is on a new mission – to make India hunger-proof and food-reliant.

He is working on a draft to set a countrywide network of private food banks – resource pools he calls them – that will work as a parallel distribution system to disburse food and allied infrastructure to people living on the edge of the poverty line and below in the vast Indian heartland. Pitroda will put his project, India Food Bank, in place by the yearend with the help of a Chicago-based international organisation, Global Foodbanking Network, a Stanford University think-tank that provides food aid to 30 nations.

Statistics narrate a grim tale of hunger in India, a country of 1.2 billion that is home to 27 per cent of the world’s hungry populace with one of the largest populations of malnourished children. Rough estimates by the Action Aid, a global anti-poverty organisation, cite that nearly 212 million people suffer from chronic hunger and undernourishment in India.

The United Nations World Food Programme paints a more alarming picture saying nearly 350 million of India’s population – roughly 35 per cent – is considered food insecure, consuming less than 80 per cent of the total energy requirements. “I identify with the problem because I was born in a large family in Kalahandi in the Bolangir district of Orissa that is ravaged by hunger and is prone to drought,” he said at an interface on his new project in the capital hosted by Aspen Institute-India.

“Three years ago, I took up the issue with a group of food activists at the Global Foodbanking Network in Chicago, the global capital of commodity trading. I told them why can’t we go to India and explore the dimension of hunger and malnutrition that can affect the future of India. More than 212 million people face paucity of food (hunger) in India.”

“We have a friend in Chicago, John Kapoor, who has made a lot of money. He sponsored a fact-finding team to India that conducted a feasibility study of the project in four underdeveloped states to find out whether it was possible to engage local communities, ensure community participation and create a network of stake-holders who could source essential food and related infrastructure for voluntary donation and distribution under an alternative food chain like the sub-Saharan models.”

Pitroda, who left for the US on Saturday, said he would return in July to “socialise the idea in the country with necessary modification for implementation by the end of the year”. “The government has several food programmes but can we really organise these programmes effectively,” he argued in justification of his “food bank project”.

Commenting on the necessity of food banks to ensure “sustained food security in India”, he said “while populations grow, food resources are continuously shrinking”. “Coupled with natural phenomenon like climate change and global warming, the security of food and other resources is a worrying question. One answer is the concept of food bank,” he said.

The Global Foodbanking Network, founded by Red Argentina de Bancos de Alimentos (Argentina), Food Banks Canada, Asociación Mexicana de Bancos de Alimentos (Mexico) and Feeding America (United States), shares food banking concepts and helps partners evaluate the feasibility and most effective business model for implementation in their country.

The organisation was founded in 2006 by four of the world’s leading national food bank networks. Its objective “is to fulfil the vision of John Van Hengel, who founded the world’s first food bank in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1967 and worked to promote and establish food banking around the world”. The latest World Food Programme report warns that more than 1.5 million children in India may suffer from malnourishment because of spiralling global food prices and 43 per cent of children under five years of age are underweight.

The report says the proportion of anaemic children has increased by six percent in the last six years with 11 states reporting 80 percent child anaemia. Figures say one in five people – about 45 per cent of Indian children – in developing countries are chronically “undernourished”. Food prices have increased by 83 percent in the last two years and 22 countries have enshrined the right to food in their Constitutions.

May 31, 2010 at 4:06 pm 1 comment

Hirakud Dam related news:India needs bill on dam safety – and fast

Following is a report by IANS taken from Yahoo news:

New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) With India having over 4,700 dams – the third largest number in the world – of which about 100 are more than a century old, a parliamentary panel has suggested the expeditious legislation concerning dam safety.

The Standing Committee on Water Resources, in its report submitted to parliament, said the government should introduce the Dam Safety Bill, 2010 in the budget session.

It said the legislation will help states adopt uniform dam safety norms and provide for proper surveillance, inspection and maintenance of dams of certain parameters.

The committee, headed by Beni Prasad Verma, said the ministry of water resources (MoWR) had informed it that the bill was expected to be introduced in the budget session. The Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal assemblies have passed resolutions empowering parliament to pass the dam safety bill.

According to the National Register of Large Dams, the country has 4,711 completed dams while around 390 are under construction.

Pointing out that there were 477 projects that had spilled over to the 11th Five Year Plan, the committee said some of these have been under execution for the past 50 years or more.

‘The committee desires that the MoWR should take concrete steps so that the spilled over projects, particularly of distant Five Year Plans, are completed during the Eleventh Plan period,’ the report said.

Expressing concern over the ‘tardy pace of execution’ of structures for artificial recharge of water, the committee said the MoWR should pursue the matter with greater vigour with states.

‘Against a target of 794 artificial recharge structures during the 11th Plan, only 121 structures have been completed whereas half the term of the plan is over,’ the committee noted.

It expressed unhappiness over non-achievement of targets for irrigation potential under the ambitious Bharat Nirman programme of the government.

Against the aim of creating irrigation potential of 10 million hectares (Mha) in four years (2005-06 to 2008-09), 7.31 Mha was created till March 2009, the committee said.

The need for legislation has been repeatedly emphasised by the National Committee on Dam Safety (NCDS), set up in 1987 with the membership of all states and organisations having a significant number of large dams.

While maintenance of the dams is the responsibility of the state governments and dam owners, a Dam Safety Organisation (DSO) was established at the Central Water Commission in May 1979 to develop guidelines for inspection of dams, check lists and other dam safety literature which has also been provided to the states.

The committee also said all information relating to water flow, contamination of surface and groundwater should be collated and ‘put under a suitable template for easy access of all’.

The report of the committee was presented to the Lok Sabha April 20 and tabled in the Rajya Sabha the same day.

May 8, 2010 at 10:16 am Leave a comment

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