PIL ON THE ISSUE OF FARMERS SUICIDES in Vidharba

HIGH COURT ORDERED GOVT. TO FILE DETAILED AFFIDAVIT ON THE SCHEME OF FARMERS LOAN WAIVER OF RS. 71,000 CRORES AS HOW FAR IT IS BENEFITED TO THE VIDARBHA FARMERS IN DISTRESS AND ALSO ORDER TO TABLE DR. NARENDRA JADHAV COMMITTEE REPORT REGARDING IMPLEMENTATION OF PACKAGE SCHEMES FOR FARMERS IN CRISIS :

HIGH COURT TOOK SERIOUS NOTE OF CONTINUED FARMERS SUICIDES AND PLIGHT OF POOR FARMERS IN VIDARBHA AND ASKED STATE GOVT. TO FURNISH EVERY DETAILS WITHIN FOUR WEEKS.

Nagpur, 20TH October, 2008.

Taking the serious cognizance of continued farmers suicides and failure of various packages announced for the crisis ridden Vidarbha Farmers, the Division Bench of Bombay High Court at Nagpur expressed great concern about the matter & approach of the State Govt. in tackling the issue and asked to furnish every details of the farmers loan waiver scheme involving Rs. 71,000 Crores announced by Central Government and its benefit to the poor farmers in crisis ridden farmers in six districts of Vidarbha region and further also asked to furnish copy of report submitted by Dr. Narendra Jadhav Committee on package schemes and its implementation within four weeks.

Division Bench headed by Justice Dilip Sinha and Justice A.P. Bhangale at Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court while hearing the Public Interest Litigation filed by Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, President, Shri Kishore Tiwari, today expressed its great concern on the entire crisis and recorded that there was much hue & cry about the mismanagement of the various packages, hence the respondent State has appointed a one man Committee consisting of Dr. Narendra Jadhav – The Vice Chancellor, Pune University, Pune to verify that the packages are properly executed and to suggest the remedial measures for better implementation of the packages. The petitioner – Sh. Kishore Tiwari himself appeared before the Commission and extended his co-operation by submitting various suggestions and data. The Commission has submitted his report to the respondent State on 17.07.08, but according to the petitioner – Sh. Kishore Tiwari no action is initiated pursuant to said report and for proper assistance to the Hon’ble Court in the instant matter the presence of above report on record is also necessary. Hence ordered the respondent State and Union Government to furnish the copy of the said report.

During the course of today hearing, it is pointed out by the Counsel for Petitioner Adv. Sh. Firdos Mirza that –

1) That Hon’ble Court was pleased to entertain the instant petition in the larger public interest considering the reports regarding suicides committed by the cotton growing farmers in the western Vidarbha and the agrarian crisis. Pursuant to the cognizance taken by this Hon’ble Court, from time to time the respondents have declared various packages and placed their details before this Hon’ble Court, still the pace of suicides is unaffected.

2) That in earlier petition before the Hon’ble Divisional Bench of this Hon’ble Court at Bombay the respondent State has submitted that the principal amount to be rescheduled in respect of the loan outstanding against the farmers is of Rs.203 crores and the interest to be written off is Rs.61 crores. Later on by filing affidavit dated 3.9.07 the respondent State submitted that towards interest waiver it has paid Rs.825 crores from P.M. packages and Rs.240 crores from State package and the total overdue as on 30.6.06 was Rs.1407 crores.

3) That recently the Central Government has announced the complete loan waiver amounting to Rs.71000 crores. As mentioned above already Rs.1065 crores were paid by the Government to the Banks towards interest waiver out of the total amount of Rs.1407 crores, hence now the new quantum of the amount disbursed towards loan waivers of the farmers raises questions about its authenticity in the background of the fact that the amount is coming from the pocket of the tax payer.

4) That in compliance with the High Court Order dated 11.07.06, 7.8.06 and 6.8.07 as made a Web site operational pertaining to the relief packages, measures and programs formulated by the State for the benefit of the farmers specially the suicide affected area. The petitioner went through the contents of this Web site, but could not found the details of the beneficiaries and the exact amount paid to each Bank, hence the application has been filed for necessary directions to the respondent for placing the record and details of the loan weavers before this Hon’ble Court.

5) That there was much hue & cry about the mismanagement of the various packages, hence the respondent State has appointed a one man Committee consisting of Dr. Narendra Jadhav – The Vice Chancellor, Pune University, Pune to verify that the packages are properly executed and to suggest the remedial measures for better implementation of the packages. The petitioner himself appeared before the Commission and extended his co-operation by submitting various suggestions and data. The suggestions made by Petitioner – Sh. Kishore Tiwari before the said committee were very much appreciated by the said Dr. Narendra Jadhav Commission which recommended Food Security to 4,42,000 farmers family in extreme distress and recommended State to supply 25 Kgs foodgrains at subsidies rate at par with BPL and also recommended Cashless Health Card to 92,321 families in which serious illness problem have been found by the survey conducted by State Govt. The Petitioner pointed out that even though the commission has submitted his report to the respondent State on 17.07.08, but no action is initiated pursuant to said report. So for proper assistance to this Hon’ble Court in the instant matter, the presence of above report on record is also necessary. Hence Court Order its submission within four weeks.

It may be recalled that the said Public Interest Litigation () was filed by Petitioner Sh. Kishore Tiwari in the year 2005. Earlier by its Order dated 13th June 2006, due to negligent & casual approach of the State & its bureaucrats to comply with the earlier orders passed by the High-Court, the Division Bench of High Court had imposed cost of Rs. 1,000/- each to be recovered from the Chief Secretary & 12 Other Top I.A.S. Bureaucrats officials of the rank of Principal Secretary, Secretaries, Divisional Commissioners and Director General of Police to be paid within 2 weeks, otherwise the reply – affidavit would not be considered the order of imposition of cost of Rs.1000/- each was modified after the prayer made by the Advocate General of Maharashtra State, who had to rush Nagpur for pleading before the Court in this Writ Petition.

The Public Interest Litigation ¨Criminal Writ Petition was filed by Shri Kishore Tiwari with the wide prayers in the interest of Cotton Cultivating Farmers community at large. The prayers are as under that –

i) the Hon’ble High Court to take cognizance of the plight of poor Farmers who were compelled to commit suicide due to wrongful policies of the State,

ii) to order necessary probe / enquiry in the role of State Officers in promoting B.T. Cotton which resulted in the failure of crop,

iii) to direct investigation through C.B.I., Vigilance Commission, C.I.D. or any other independent agency in the matter of sale of bogus and duplicate B.T. Cotton seeds by the companies and involvement of the officials of the State in inducing the poor farmers for cultivating the B.T. Cotton,

iv) to order prosecution of the guilty officials for the offences punishable under Section 306, 409, 420 & 120 (B) of Indian Penal Code and their overacts causing series of suicides of farmers,

v) to direct the State to compensate the families of the farmers who have compelled to commit suicide by the negligence of the State by providing Rs. 5,00,000/- each without any disparity or choose & pick policy,

vi) to direct the State to take immediate measures for granting financial assistance to the Cotton Growing Farmers & to take
further steps to protect the farmers from the coercive recovery at the hands of banks & private money lenders,

vii) to direct the State to place Action Taken Report on the recommendations of various Committees,

viii) to direct the State to take appropriate action against the B.T. Cotton Seeds companies for compensating the poor farmers died untimely &

ix) other reliefs which High Court may find suitable in the facts and circumstances.

The petition will be taken up for further hearing after 4 weeks at the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court. Advocate Firdos Mirza & Advocate Vinod Tiwari appeared for the petitioner and State was represented by Additional Govt. Pleader and APP Smt. Bharati Dangre, whereas Central Government was represented by Adv. Sh. Shyam Ahirkar.

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