Friday, July 07, 2006
Once known as "white gold" cotton has become the NEW DEATH MACHINE in India.
In the Vidarbha cotton belt, 451 cotton farmers have killed themselves since the beginning of this harvest; about 2,300 have committed suicide since 2000.
How the debt noose tightens: Many farmers had saved up a little money to buy seeds. When the first sowing failed, they were forced to go to the local moneylender because banks had refused them loans unless they cleared their previous dues.
A second failure meant more debt from the sahukar (moneylender) whose deal usually requires the farmer to repay double of what he borrows. Successive crop failure drove many a farmer to desperate measures.The Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS) Factor — that is, the difference between the prices actually obtained by the farmers and the price they would have obtained in a hypothetical free market — is the worst in the case of cotton (-258.51 per cent in 1996-97). Clearly, the negative AMS or the negative subsidy is the another major cause of farmer suicides in India.
In response to growing media attention, the Indian government appointed the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research in Mumbai to investigate the rural crisis. Its report,
“Suicides of Farmers in Maharashtra”, submitted in January, found that the Suicide Mortality Rate (SMR) for male farmers had trebled from 17 per 100,000 in 1995 to 53 in 2004 in Maharashtra—nearly four times the national average. In the crisis-ridden Amravati district, the figure was 140 in 2004—ten times the national average and seven times the state average.
More than two thirds of the cases examined in the study were farmers less than 50 years old. Close to 60 percent had been farming for more than ten years. Four in every five suicides involved poisons or pesticides used in cotton growing. The report noted that the lack of proper hospital facilities contributed to the high death toll. On average, a hospital capable of treating poisoning cases was more than 20 kilometres away.
The surviving family members were eligible for compensation of just 100,000 rupees ($US2, 200), and subject to tough conditions, which in most cases could not be met.
The report pointed out that those who committed suicide were heavily reliant on private moneylenders who often charge extortionate interest rates. “The total outstanding debt from suicide cases is 3.7 times more than the total outstanding debt from non-suicide [cases],” it stated. Most of the deceased farmers had an average debt of just 160,000 rupees ($US3,570), but could see no way of paying it.
Though nearly 3,000 cotton farmers across the country have committed suicides because of bankruptcy, their counterparts in Gujarat feel untouched by the tragedy.Here also, The Blood Sucking Parasites Feeds on Weak:
There has been no report of any farmer committing suicide in the state due to crop failure or debts. Many feel there are reasons for entrepreneurial skills of farmers. Gujarat---the largest producer of cotton in the country---has skilfully adopted a newer technology to its benefit.
Maharashtra has the maximum 35 lakh hectares of land under cotton cultivation and Gujarat has only 17 lakh hectares. However, when it comes to productivity, Gujarat leads with 35 lakh bales (one bale is 175 kg) which is highest in the country," says Umed Patel, research scientist at Surat Cotton Research Centre.
"One of the factors influencing the production is that nearly 30 per cent cotton fields in the state are not dependent on rains. Cotton fields in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are dependent on rains,"
Suicide belt’s key moneylender is Cong MLA. That one of the biggest sahukars of the Vidarbha region is Congress MLA Dilip Sananda and his family based in Buldhana district. That the Sanandas are still plying their trade when police records show over 40 cases registered against them for illegal money-lending, land-grabbing to kidnapping, manhandling to torture.
Table of Deaths
2001 50 2002 122 2003 170 2004 620 2005 572 2006 745So Much for Aam Aadmi Govt
After the controversy surrounding Kannada actress Jaimala'es entry into Sabarimala temple, a new row has been kicked up by Malayalam actress Meera Jasmine, a Christian, offering prayers at Raja Rajeshwara temple at Taliparamba near Kannur.
Jasmine made votive offerings at the famous temple, where the entry of non-Hindus is prohibited, and paid obeisance to Lord Raja Rajeshwara, the presiding deity, on Thursday night, sparking off a protest by Hindu devotees.
I think this was really uncalled for. I personally feel that Everyone who respect Hindu Tradition and Culture should be allowed entry to the Temple. No Temple will get "Unpure" by entry of a Human Being!
Information on the Temple:
Legend has it that Rama during his victorious return to Ayodhya from Lanka, stopped here to offer worship to Shiva (as in Rameswaram). In honor of his presence, devotees are not allowed into the namaskara mandapam even today.
Taliparamba is regarded as one of the ancient Shakti Peethams. Legend has it that the head of Sati - fell here after Shiva's tandavam following Sati's self immolation (see legend of Daksha yagna).
This temple is regarded as one of the 108 ancient Shiva temples of Kerala.