Gujarat: 145 farmers commit suicide in three years

Gandhinagar, Mar 26 : As many as 145 farmers have committed suicide in Gujarat in last three years due to various reasons.

Replying to a question in the assembly, Agriculture Minister Dilip Sanghani yesterday said that 103 farmers committed suicide in 2007, 35 in 2008 and seven committed suicide till September last year.

Mr Sanghani said five farmers committed suicide because of debt and 140 farmers committed suicide due to some other reasons including personal ones.

With 32 suicides in three years, Junagadh in Saurashtra topped the list of the districts where farmers committed suicide.

It was followed by Kheda in Central Gujarat with 25 cases of suicides. Navasari in South Gujarat recorded minimum cases with one in three years.

Farmers suicide: HC notices to Orissa govt, OHRC, CBI

http://www.ptinews.com/news/571653_Farmers-suicide–HC-notices-to-Orissa-govt–OHRC–CBI

Cuttack, Mar 18 (PTI) Taking cognisance of a PIL pertaining to suicide by a farmer, the Orissa High Court today issued notices to the state government, CBI and Orissa Human Rights Commission (OHRC).
A bench of HC comprising Justice A S Naidu and Justice B N Mohapatra took note of the PIL pertaining to the suicide by Jhintu Bariah in Balangir and issued notices to four state government officials, including the CBI SP in Bhubaneswar and the chairman of OHRC.
The respondents would have to file their counters to the PIL within three weeks, the order said, adding that the matter would come up for hearing after the affidavits are received.
Demanding a CBI enquiry into what the petitioner alleged as "starvation death" of the farmer, the PIL was filed in January this year.

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India up for sale to MNCs

Pushpa M Bhargava

First Published : 15 Mar 2010 12:14:00 AM IST

The recent historic moratorium on Bt brinjal by Jairam Ramesh, minister of environment and forests, has created a network of citizens’ organisations around the country that have risen spontaneously from the ground, and have prevented the country’s agriculture becoming devoid of its diversity and moving in the direction of control by multinational corporations (MNCs). These corporations have strong links with the government of the United States of America US, and their sole objectives are (a) to make as much money as possible by any means, and (b) to eventually have total control over Indian agriculture, using every ruse known to the world of conmen. Unlike the government of India, they are fully aware that whosoever controls seed and agrochemical business in India, controls its agriculture. And whosoever controls our agriculture, controls India and its food security, for 62 per cent Indians derive their total sustenance from agriculture and, in our country, food security, food sovereignty, agriculture security, farmers security, and security of the rural sector, are synonymous and important components of national security and autonomy. If Bt brinjal had been approved, India would have, in course of time, ceased to be, de facto, an independent country and we, its citizens, would have had to start fighting the third war of independence which we would have eventually won, for truth always wins in the long run.

It is unfortunate that our government — our politicians and bureaucrats (exception granted) — and the rich and the powerful in the country, seem to be siding with the MNCs (read US), in their attempt to acquire control over our agriculture. This is reminiscent of India being ruled by the British through a class of Indians. Only the structure, colour and strategy of this class seem to have changed, while Britain has been replaced by the US plus the MNCs. Let us look at the evidence:

* We signed the India-US Knowledge Initiative in Agriculture during the first UPA government. Following this — and, perhaps, in preparation of this — our research and extension work in agriculture seems to have totally discounted our strengths and needs. Let me give some examples: The Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) has developed integrated pest management (IPM) and biopesticides for some 85 crops, including cotton and brinjal. Why have we not used these technologies instead of peddling Monsanto’s Bt crops?

Organic agriculture has been India’s forte. It brings better price for the produce. Andhra Pradesh already has two million acres under organic agriculture and has plans to take this area to 10 million in the next two or three years. Why are our Krishi Vigyan Kendras (I believe there is one in each district) not encouraging organic agriculture? Why does not ICAR have an institute devoted to organic agriculture?

Given today’s knowledge of molecular biology, why are our agriculture research scientists not developing varieties which would have the advantages of hybrids? The farmers can then have their own seeds and would not have to depend on seed companies. At a meeting that the director general of ICAR and I had co-chaired when I was the vice-chairman of the National Knowledge Commission, nine energy saving steps for agriculture were identified. Why have they not been taken?

The ICAR has published in several volumes, details of over 4000 traditional agriculture practices, many of which have been validated and cross-validated. We have many more documented by the National Innovation Foundation. Why are we not using the validated ones and taking steps to examine the remaining? Why are we not using our horticulture potential? For example, all the technology exists in the State Forest Research Laboratory of Arunachal Pradesh to grow over 600 orchids through tissue culture. These orchids can capture the world orchid market, replacing Thailand (for our orchids are far more beautiful and the world is tired of Thai orchids) and bring to Arunachal Pradesh a revenue of over Rs 10,000 crore a year. Why are we not pursuing the possibility?

Why is our department of agriculture not using the outstanding capabilities that our National Remote Sensing Agency has to, for example, identify diseased plants in a field so that one can prevent the spread of the disease?

* Ten of our leading CEOs signed the Indo-US CEO agreement (available on Planning Commission’s website) in which the Indian CEOs (led by Ratan Tata) agreed to put the lid on the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, promised not to give any trouble to Coca Cola and Pepsi irrespective of the quality and quantity of their misdeeds, and open our retail market to the US. There is already a US demand that India cuts down its subsidies to agriculture which are a pittance in comparison to what the US provides to its agriculturists.

* We recently signed secretly, an MoU on ‘Agriculture Cooperation and Food Security’ with the US, even though all the inputs we require — scientific, technological, managerial or social — to improve our agriculture to meet national demands (present or future) are available within the country. The MoU (The Hindu, February 24, 2010), for all practical purposes, appears to have handed over our food security and sovereignty, farmers security, agriculture security and security of the rural sector comprising 70 per cent of our population, to the US.

* The government has been supporting introduction of GM food and other crops in the country, which will eventually give control of our agriculture to US-based MNCs. Jairam Ramesh, taking into account overwhelming public opinion and unbiased scientific opinion has, rightly and courageously, in a statesman-like manner, put an indefinite moratorium on the release of Bt brinjal; he has gone on record to say that he has only two supporters in the government and the ruling party: the prime minister and Sonia Gandhi.

* Our surrender to the US seems to be total. If we buy nuclear reactors from the US (which we would be obliged to buy), we will pay most of the compensation in case of a nuclear accident, not the vendor of the reactor. And on the March 6, V K Saraswat, scientific adviser to our defence minister, said that the US is still denying us technology (Deccan Chronicle, March 7, 2010).

On November 10, 1698, Charles Eyre bought three fishing villages — Sutanuti, Govindpore and Dihi-Koikata — from a Bengali landlord for Rs1,300, and laid the foundation of  today’s Kolkata. We are now trying to sell our entire country for a pittance (if for anything at all) to MNCs and the US. Those who are involved in this effort must understand that the citizens of this country are well-equipped to fight the third war of independence if that happens.

About the author:

Pushpa M Bhargava

is the former vice chairman of the National Knowledge Commission

16 Vidarbha farmers suicides in a week – VJAS urged for Smt.Sonia Gandhi to save vidarbha farmers

Nagpur-15th march 2010

Unseasonable rains in the last two-three days in the region for vidarbha growers, these have proved to be extremely detrimental as four more farmers suicides reported in last 48 hours taking toll to 16 farm suicides in a week include one women farmer in the on going agrarian crisis in the region which has shown impact of despair and extreme distress forced over 2 million farm families as per official survey, informed Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan andolan Samiti (VJAS) in press note .

“In a letter to UPA convener smt.sonia GandhiIndia VJAS has drawn attention toward the fact regarding seriousness of agrarian crises in India that has claimed more than 2,16,000 farmers killed themselves in Maharashtra since 1997 as official figure of Govt. of India and majority of farmers are from dry land region south west India,this year there is severe crop failure due to drought in Maharashtra as more than 20000 villages have officially declared drought hit by Maharashtra Govt and despair in amounting to suicide due to apathy of administration toward the crisis ” Tiwari added.






16 vidarbha farmers who committed suicides in this week are


1.Gunwant Raut of Dhotra inWashim

2.Vithal Lende of Bishur in nagpur

3,Amol Matharmare of Mahatoli In Yavatmal

4.Kisan Patil of Katpur In Amaravati

5.Sandeepzole of Pahur In Yavatmal

6.Purshottam Dewase of Kakada In Wardha

7.Ankush Narayan Thakray of Nimtalai in Nagpur

8.Suryakant Ganpat Gokare of Aadkoli in Yavatmal

9.Satish Keshav Dhote of Bhabulgoan in Yavatmal

10.Smt.Vimal Abhiman Kowe of Zuli In Yavatmal.

11.Santosh Janardhan Bhisale of Koyali In Washim

12.Prahald Nimba Rathode of Mahagoan in Yavatmal

13.Raobhan Raoji Surpam of Morwa In Yavatmal

14.Praka Bhaukade of Udi In Akola .

15.Balaji Paikine 0f Marsud In Yavatmal

16.Prahal Gawande of Bhadkad In Akola

As per administration reports these drought hit 15460 villages in vidarbha facing the problem of water ,fodder ,food and employment but till date any single district administration has not started any relief work resulting migration of thousands farmers for the want of work .ground condition is worst than June-2006 and now it’s time for Indian intervention to solve vidarbha agrarian crisis as all relief package failed to give any result we demand to provide free health care, food security, rural employment , fodder to save dying cattle ,drinking water to rural masses and cattle on priority basis so that prevailing acute distress can be minimize and farmers suicides can be controlled ,Tiwari said.

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In the Golden Jubilee Year of Maharashtra ‘facing worst economic crisis’

Thursday, March 11, 2010

In the Golden Jubilee Year of Maharashtra ‘facing worst economic crisis’ In the Golden Jubilee Year of Maharashtra ‘facing worst economic crisis’

  • OFFICIAL DEBT IS CROSSING THE 2 MILLION CRORE MARK
  • THIS YEAR MORE THAN 6 MILLION JOB LOST IN MAHARSHTRA.
  • DROP IN FOOD PRODUCTION BY 46% IV.DROP IN IRRIGATION FACILITY IN DRY LAND AL MOST 80% FOR VIDARBHA 1.5 LAKH HECTOR RABY TO JUST 20 THOUSAND UNDER CULTIVATION.
  • SEVERE WATER CRISIS IN RURAL MAHARASHTRA.
  • NO MEGA PROJECT OR SEZ HAS STARTED.
  • NO INCREASE IN POWER.
  • STATE FAILED TO CRATE ROAD AND HEALTH AND EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES AS PLANED.

Nagpur- 12th March 2010, When last in august 2009 it’s first economic survey before submitting the budget Maharashtra Govt. has admitted that state is not economic growth map when it was told that last year Maharashtra lost 2 million jobs in the year 2008-2009,food grain production dropped by 25% before drought has been declared ,outstanding debt mounting to Rs.1,58,520 crore, interest payment on debt is Rs. 12,953 crore,30% drop in employment provided under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), poverty ratio in the State is 30.7 per cent as against All-India average of 27.5 percent and more than 6000 farm suicides and lacs of tribals death due to malnutrition and starvation but same time rosy picture was shown regarding massive job creation and investments in infrastructure ,increase in food crop production ,reduction in the debt and restoration basic facilities to poor like food ,shelter, health ,education and rural employment ,industrial growth but nothing has happened and economical crisis further deepen and in the golden jubilee year of it’s formation Maharashtra is set to face worst economic crisis and fiscal collapse due to poor governance and massive corruption in ministry , Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti(VJAS) president kishor Tiwari informed today regarding economic collapse of Maharashtra and urged central Govt. intervention to avoid systematic failure of fiscal structure of Maharashtra . VJAS has drawn the attention towards the drought situation in more than 20,000 villages that has effected sharply drop in kharif and raby crop and first food production has like to be drop below 102 lakh MT first time in history of Maharashtra .it was told that Total 14,957 industrial projects with an investment of Rs. 5,04,689 crore and employment potential of about 27.54 lakh have been registered with the GoI to set up units in the State till the end of December, 2008. Out of these, 6,778 projects with an investment of Rs. 1,10,149 crore have already started their production and employment of about 6.93 lakh has been generated. The compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) for the last five years for investments in registered and commissioned projects is 16.1 and 2.6 per cent respectively but in ground reality nothing has happened. Regarding power sector growth it was told that ,the total available installed capacity of electricity in the State at the end of March, 2008 was 21,654 MW as against 17,984 MW at the end of March, 2007. During 2008-09, the generation of electricity in the State upto the end of November, 2008 was 51,465 million KWH, higher by 6.0 per cent than that in the corresponding period of 2007-08. The State is facing a power deficit of about 4,500MW. The transmission losses of MAHATRANSCO were 5.0 per cent and the distribution losses of MAHADISCOM were 24.1 per cent during 2007-08 but net incrase in power is almost nil . Major high light of economic survey was An ambitious project for setting up a world class Multi-modal International Hub Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN) is being developed by Maharashtra Airport Development Company Ltd. (MADC), the State owned company. The project covers development of existing domestic airport at Nagpur as an international Passenger and Cargo Hub Airport, along with a huge Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and with overall world class facilities such as road infrastructure, separate road and rail terminal that will handle 14 million passenger traffic and an estimated 8.7 lakh tones of cargo per year. The unique feature of this project is ‘Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO)’ base for comprehensive maintenance of aircraft, the first independent MRO in India but after year MIHAN is turning out to be hoax has it failed to give single job to skilled or unskilled worker of the region more over it has been become land mafia activity centre. ‘As Maharashtra chief Minster Ashok Chavan was full year busy in land allotments and land lease ,touts have taken over the administration and Maharashtra in it’s golden year of creation is going toward bad phase of economic condition of one time very progressive state Maharashtra due to huge mounting debt, massive administrative corruption coupled with administrative failure of present Govt., It’s matter of serious concern of all tax prayer of Maharashtra ’ kishore tiwari of VJAS informed today. As per last year economic report ,it is informed that the revenue receipts of the State Government are expected to be Rs. 79,911 crore during 2008-09 as against Rs. 79,860 crore during 2007-08. The tax revenue of the State is expected to be Rs. 60,839 crore in which State’s own tax revenue is Rs. 51,893 crore (85 per cent). The non-tax revenue is expected to be Rs. 19,072 crore.The revenue expenditure of the State Government during 2008-09 is expected to be Rs. 78,946 crore, higher by 19 per cent over the previous year, of which interest payment is Rs. 12,953 crore (16.4 per cent).The total outstanding debt during 2008-09 is expected to be Rs. 1,58,520 crore (25.8 percent of the GSDP).The food grains production for kharif and rabi season in the State is estimated to be 117.19 lakh M.T. as a preliminary forecast, less by 24 per cent compared to that of the previous year. A steep fall of 49 per cent is expected in production of oilseeds. Sugarcane production is also expected to be much lower by 43 per cent (at 508.13 lakh M.T.) mainly due to reduction of 30 percent in the harvested area.The estimated employment in the State, based on National Sample Survey, which was on rise till 2004-05 at 4.3 crore, declined to 4.1 crore in 2007-08 clearly indicating the footprints of recession.The employment provided under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) during 2008-09 was 4.2 crore person days as against 6.0 crore person days provided under Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) and NREGS during 2007-08.The poverty estimate provided by the Planning Commission of India, reveal that the poverty ratio in the State during 2004-05 is 30.7 per cent as against All-India average of 27.5 percent. Though the results at various points of time show decline in poverty ratios, the number of persons living below poverty line is gradually increasing since 1973-74 and increased by 12.2 lakh persons in 2004-05 as compared to 1993-94.Kishore Tiwari of VJAS has asked today to central Govt. to review economic crisis in Maharashtra due to uncontrolled plan and unplanned expenses of state Govt. and on going fiscal deficit of state Govt. as bureaucratic control is of executive is missing and corruption in administration is at it’s peak hence fiscal monitoring and central review is needed.. “this is election year but people of Maharashtra will have to pay cost of political misdeed in future ,more hardship are in pipeline if corrective steps are not taken today” tiwari added.

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Coca-Cola and Water Use in India: “Good Till the Last Drop” : The Primate Diaries

Coca-Cola and Water Use in India: "Good Till the Last Drop" : The Primate Diaries

The marketing executive who came up with Coca-Cola’s popular slogan in 1908 most likely never expected it would be taken so literally. However, a hundred years ago there probably weren’t many who imagined a term like "water wars" could exist in a region that experiences annual monsoons.

On February 25 a complaint was filed in the New York Supreme Court against the The Coca-Cola Company alleging that they knew about and sought to cover up human rights abuses in Guatemala. While that trial gets started, the company’s controversial practices in India continue involving the over-exploitation of limited water resources and the contamination of groundwater supplies. In response to public outcry the soft drink company is now championing itself as a longtime environmental leader and the business community is eager to advertise their claim. Yesterday CNN Money reported that:

Coke has been a leader when it comes to environmental issues: It is aiming to be water neutral — meaning every drop of water used by the company will be replenished — by 2020.

This would come as a surprise to the Plachimada community in the State of Kerala. Ever since Coca-Cola opened a bottling plant on their land in 2000 they have been faced with chronic drought and polluted water. In 2006 these residents of a small impoverished community in southern India began a pitched campaign to evict Coca-Cola from their land which led to fierce battles with local authorities.

In 2003 Indian journalist Arjun Sen wrote in The Statesman:

Three years ago, the little patch of land in the green, picturesque rolling hills of Palakkad yielded 50 sacks of rice and 1,500 coconuts a year. It provided work for dozens of labourers. Then Coke arrived and built a 40-acre bottling plant nearby. In his last harvest, Shahul Hameed, owner of a smallholding, could manage only five sacks of rice and just 200 coconuts. His irrigation wells have run dry, thanks to Coke drawing up to 1.5 million litres of water daily through its deep wells to bottle Coke, Fanta, Sprite, and the drink the locals call without irony, "Thumbs Up."

To make matters worse, the bottling plant was producing thousands of gallons of toxic sludge and, as the BBC reported, disposed of it by selling the carcinogenic material to local farmers as "fertilizer." High levels of pesticides were also reportedly found in the soft drink produced in the region leading to bans across the country. According to The Guardian, some Indian farmers even chose to spray their fields with Coca-Cola rather than use the more expensive pesticides from Monsanto.

However, the most serious problem was water use. According to anthropologist Ananthakrishnan Aiyer writing in the journal Cultural Anthropology the persistent water problems in the region soon became a crisis after the company’s arrival:

A severe drought in 2004 in Kerala complicated matters as Plachimada was declared a "water impoverished" zone in 2005. By 2005, the Plachimada situation was being replicated as the struggle over water and irrigation rights spread to other rural communities across the country, which led to several agitations and demonstrations against The Coca-Cola Company.

Despite attempts to revoke their license Coca-Cola remained. As Aiyer pointed out, it would have been foolish not to. The company extracted groundwater nearly free of charge (except for a small fee for discharging wastewater) and they were able to reap enormous profits as a result. In the late 1990s the average cost of industrial water in the U.S. was about five dollars per 10,000 litres, whereas in India the price was a mere three cents.

Water in India is literally free and highly lucrative for private corporations. Thus, access to cheap groundwater and the low cost of extracting it in combination with low labor costs and state and local governments falling over each other to attract "foreign investment," all play a role in facilitating the entry of transnational corporations into the water industry.

However, this investment, from Coca-Cola and other multinationals, has come at a significant cost to the local population:

The rural population has especially suffered the most. The clearest and most visible signs of this distress, and there are many, are of course the steady numbers of farmer suicides across the country. By several reliable estimates, there have been anywhere from 22,000 to 25,000 suicides by farmers in the past decade and the majority of these have taken place in the western and southern states. This amounts to about seven suicides a day–a situation that would have called for a national emergency in most Western neoliberal states, but it is certainly not the case in India.

Clearly this trend is the result of larger forces and not just the actions of a single company. Aiyer highlights the role of the World Bank in promoting the privatization of water throughout the country that has resulted in multinational companies and wealthy landowners "sidestepping local government bodies and taking direct control of canals
and irrigation schemes." In the case of Plachimada, Coca-Cola has become a symbol for these larger forces at work:

It is little wonder that the struggle by the residents of Plachimada against The Coca-Cola Company, an eminently concentrated form of capital, galvanized so much support in India and elsewhere, and that their struggle has been inspirational and played a significant role in generating opposition to The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo in other rural communities in India facing similar threats from transnational corporations.

While the Kerala plant was temporarily closed due to the popular protest, to this day the Plachimada continue their struggle to receive compensation for contamination and over-exploitation of water resources on their land. Coca-Cola has shifted their operations to other areas of southern India and continues to produce their fizzy drink in a region that regularly faces chronic drought. More than one hundred years since the slogan was first used, "Good Till the Last Drop" continues to have lasting relevance.

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10 Vidarbha farmers commit suicide in three days

Friday, March 12, 2010 08:00 IST
Our Bureau, Mumbai

Ten farmers have committed suicide in Vidarbha in the last three days. Of the 10 deaths, six were reported from Yavatmal district – known as the suicide capital of Vidarbha – two from Akola and one each in Nagpur and Washim district, according to Santosh Netam, publicity-in-charge of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), an NGO that keeps track of farm suicides in the region.

Nine farmers ended their lives by consuming pesticide while one took a fatal leap into a well, the Samiti said. “The district machinery is geared to rackle the situation arising out of the agrarian crisis. We have also planned to enhance crop loans from Rs 750 crore to Rs 850 crore in the ensuing kharif season,” said Yavatmal Collector Sanjay Deshmukh expressing concern over the spurt in suicides. Agro economist Srinivas Khandewale claimed that almost all farmers in the region were in distress because of crop failure and piling up of unpaid loans from banks as well as private sources.

He said the government should provide food security and employment to farmers under the national rural employment scheme to prevent suicides.

Kishore Tiwari of the VJAS alleged that the government had failed to initiate concrete steps to stop farmers from killing themselves. “The relief packages hardly had any effect on the farmers because a substantial amount of funds was siphoned off by politicians,” Tiwari said. The Prime Minister in 2006 had announced a Rs 3,750-crore relief package for farmers. The state government had also announced a package of Rs 1,075 crore. The administration also distributed 4,675 cattle heads in Yavatmal district alone, but the beneficiaries mainly included leading politicians from the district

Sweeping powers, glaring omissions The biotech regulatory Bill gags dissent and takes away the power of states without providing any safeguards to farmers and consumers

 Latha Jishnu / New Delhi March 11, 2010, 0:42 

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/latha-jishnu-sweeping-powers-glaring-omissions/388151/

 Shortcuts always lead to problems, and nowhere is this more evident than in the biotechnology sector. Research in genetically modified organisms (GMOs) crops was permitted, both in the public and private sectors, even before a clear policy was in place and before any guidelines had been formulated on the priority areas for Indian agriculture. Nor was any socio-economic survey, vital for understanding the implications of introducing such high-tech crops, ever conducted before releasing the first GM crop, the Bt cotton. And the regulatory system, manned mostly by bureaucrats till recently, was clearly not up to the task of tackling the complex issues related to the sector because of their limited understanding of the technicalities. The result: A host of concerns about the environmental and health effects of GM crops that have not been addressed clearly. However, the remedy that the government is proposing in the form of the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill, 2009, promises to compound the problems. What the government wants to set up in place of the Genetic Engineering Approvals Committee (GEAC), the apex regulatory body with representation from several ministries, is a three-member regulator that will act as single-window clearing house for all GM commercial applications. With the processing of such applications as its primary mandate, the Bill, scheduled to be introduced in the current Budget session of Parliament, ignores the basic premise for biotech regulation. REVIEWING RISK MANAGEMENT CRITICAL OMISSIONS DANGEROUS PROVISIONS Not a broad-based body representing diverse fields Act to have overriding effect on other laws No participation of state governments, stakeholders (farmers & consumers groups) or public interest groups Jail and stiff fines for those who mislead the public about the safety of GMOs* and products Risk management neglected No disclosure of confidential commercial information but this information not defined No provision for liability, redressal or recall of products Union government can give directions to the Authority No clear provision for revocation of approval to prevent harm to public or environment Union government can amend Schedule I (list of specified organisms and products) Post-marketing surveillance and monitoring absent Permits delegation of authority to the chairman Statutory Bioethics Commission * Genetically modified organisms ** Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India No legal action allowed against the Union government, BRAI** and other bodies or officials functioning under this Act This was articulated clearly in the 2004 Task Force Report on Agricultural Biotechnology, which was accepted by the Union government in 2005. The task force, headed by M S Swaminathan, the grey eminence of Indian agriculture, had said: “The bottom line of our national agricultural biotechnology policy should be the economic well-being of farm families, food security of the nation, health security of the consumer, protection of the environment and the security of our national and international trade in farm commodities.” In keeping with this guiding principle, the task force had recommended a statutory and autonomous National Biotechnology Regulatory Authority (NBRA) with two wings: One for agricultural and food biotechnology and the other for medical and pharmaceutical biotechnology. Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had promised then that the NBRA would be set up within a year. The primary reason for the delay in setting up NBRA, which has morphed into BRAI, is the turf war. While the GEAC, which the BRAI replaces, is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), which come under the Ministry of Science and Technology, has formulated the Bill while the Ministry of Agriculture is nowhere in the picture. This, in fact, is the biggest sticking point and critics of the Bill say there would be a serious conflict of interest if BRAI is housed under the Ministry of Science and Technology. The recent controversy over the Science & Technology Minister Prithviraj Chavan quoting large tracts from a report prepared by the global GM seeds and biotech industry to make the case for the introduction of Bt brinjal has not helped inspire confidence in the DBT-sponsored Bill. Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, who describes the provisions of the proposed regulation as “unacceptable”, claims that his ministry or the Ministry of Health is better suited to be the nodal department for the autonomous authority. Experts, however, say this is a deflection from the core concerns over the Bill. Plant geneticist Suman Sahai, who was on the Planning Commission’s Task Force on Biodiversity and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) for the XIth Plan, says the problem with the regulatory system is that “it lacks technical competence, transparency and stringency”, and that new Bill does nothing to set right these shortcomings. Worse, “there is utter confusion in the way the different bodies are constructed in the new Bill with no understanding of their different functions and responsibilities”. Sifting through the expert views on the issue, a key concern appears to be the lack of guidelines in the BRAI Bill — the principles that will shape the functioning of the regulatory authority in deciding the biosafety of GM crops. In short, the nuts and bolts are missing from this structure. Instead, the Bill attempts to impose an undemocratic, secretive system that cannot be challenged under the laws of the country. The most egregious of these provisions is Section 63 which allows for imprisonment and hefty fines for “whoever, without any evidence or scientific record, misleads the public about the safety of the organisms and products in Schedule I”. Besides, the proposed law will override other statutes like the Right to Information (RTI) Act and the Environment Protection Act. In sum, details of BRAI’s decisions cannot be sought by the public, nor can these be legally challenged. In all other spheres of government and regulatory activity, it is the Central Information Commission that decides what information can or cannot be disclosed, and even its ruling can be challenged in the courts. In fact, there is no provision for public participation in the regulatory process, which is expressly mandated under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to which India is a signatory under the Convention on Biosafety. According to this global treaty, any statutes on biotech issue must include a systemic mechanism to ensure public participation in decision-making by representatives of farmers’ lobbies and consumer groups. Equally undemocratic and violative of the Constitution is the fact that states have been kept out of the regulatory process although agriculture — and health, for that matter — is a state subject. The Bill envisages only an advisory role through the State Biotechnology Regulatory Advisory Committee. Apart from hitting at the federal structure on agriculture and health issues, the BRAI will impinge on, if not override, other laws like the better designed Biological Diversity Act which gives equal play to the states and Union government. Official sources are not forthcoming on the reasons for the draconian provisions on stifling public dissent or on the sidelining of states. “The regulations have been in the making since 2008 and everyone was aware of the provisions,” is the explanation from one source. That hardly justifies the reasons for the flawed architecture of the legislation, where some of the provisions are in seeming conflict with one or the other regulation. Take, for instance, Sections 24 and 26 which relate to the procedure for risk assessment for the research, transport, import, organism and product and the procedure for grant of authorisation for manufacture or use of organism and products, respectively. It is not clear whether the Product Rulings Committee will be the final arbiter of risk assessment or whether its reports will form the basis for such evaluation by the risk assessment unit. But, of more concern is the fact that independence, impartiality or autonomy of this three-member body can be easily undermined. Under Section 75, the Central government is allowed to give directions to the regulatory authority, allowing it to “interfere with matters that are scientific and technical in nature.” Sahai, who is convener of the farmers’ rights group Gene Campaign, has been fighting a long battle in the Supreme Court — her PIL was filed in 2004 — to ensure stringent and transparent regulations for GM crops, and she says it’s high time a credible authority was in place. The larger issue with the BRAI is that risk management is almost absent from its agenda. Not only is there is no stipulation for revocation of approval by the authority to prevent any possible harm to the environment or public health, there is also no strong provisions for liability. Missing here are express clauses for redressal or compensation and measures for remediation and clean up in the event of an ecological disaster, says Kavitha Kuruganti of the Kheti Virasat Mission, a civil society organisation working for sustainable agriculture. The general verdict is that BRAI is the wrong Bill drafted by the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Given the old saw that no good product can came out of a bad system, the Bill spells bad news for the GM industry — and the country.

Farmer suicide rate: 5 a week

Sanjeev Kumar Patro

 BHUBANESWAR: The bane of farmers’ suicides has taken Orissa in its vice-like grip with five ending their lives in every seven days. The trend has grown by over six per cent in 2008 as the State has climbed the ladder at a notoriously fast pace to rank 12th of the 28 states with most farmer deaths, the statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau has revealed. The growth is over 40 per cent for the males with 245 taking the extreme step against 170 in 2007. Farmer suicides constitute a significant 5.3 per cent of the total 4,904 suicide cases in Orissa. The year 2008 has assumed significance against the backdrop of the mega loan waiver scheme offered by the Centre. Though nationally the total number of suicides by farmers has dipped, an upward trend is noticed in states of Orissa, Chhattisgarh, AP, MP, Rajasthan, UP, TN and Gujarat. What is of concern is that most farmer deaths in Orissa have not been of those involved in cash crop cultivation but majorly paddy growers. The rise in suicides when seen through a recent report `Combined Finances of Union and State Governments’ brings to the fore some farreaching conclusions. All the States that have registered a rise except Chattisgarh have a very poor per capita expenditure on agriculture. And, except West Bengal all other states that recorded a fall have a very high per capita expenditure on agriculture. As per the report, the expenditure on agriculture in 2007-08 in Orissa was Rs 890 crore with per capita expenditure of Rs 224 only. The per capita spending of Orissa is only 0.8 times of the national per capita spending on agriculture. Spending on pure agriculture activities like crop husbandry, R&D and other agri-programmes for the same period stood at Rs 315 crore only. Orissa’s per capita spending is even below that of the north-eastern states. According to Farmers Commission, there is a serious lapse in the Government’s policy towards farmers in Orissa. It finds that 94 per cent operational holdings in Orissa is below four hectare and currently no improved implements are used in farming there. Only 0.5 per cent of the holdings covering only 6.35 per cent of the cultivable area have tractors, power tillers, pumps and sprayers. The Commission urged the Government to declare a mechanical package entailing provisioning of ergonomically improved bullock drawn and manual tools and introduction of mechanised power tillers, self-propelled reapers, transplanters and tractors on custom hiring basis to address the falling costs per holding. The input subsidy offered by the Orissa Government on mechanised farm inputs would not ameliorate the problem, as suicides are mostly committed by farmers owning below 4 hectares land

రైతుపై నిర్లక్ష్యం దేశద్రోహం

navya. రైతుకు కష్టం వస్తే ఆయన మరుక్షణం అక్కడ ప్రత్యక్షం అవుతారు. రైతు సంతోషంలోనే దేశ ప్రగతి ఉందని బలంగా నమ్ముతారాయన. అందుకోసం ఐ.ఆర్.ఎస్.సెలక్షన్‌ను వదులుకున్నారు. లక్ష జీతం వచ్చే సైంటిస్ట్ ఉద్యోగాన్ని గడ్డిపోచకింద తీసిపారేశారు. జన్యు మార్పిడి పంటలు, బిటి వంకాయలపై సాగిన పోరాటాన్ని ఆయన ముందుండి నడిపించారు.
ఎరువులు, క్రిమి సంహారకాలు లేకుండా, సేంద్రీయ పద్ధతుల్లో పంటలు పండించే ఉద్యమాన్ని చేపట్టి దేశంలోనే మన రాష్ట్రాన్ని అదర్శంగా నిలిపారు. దేశంలో అపారంగా ఉన్న వనరులను చేజేతులా దుర్వినియోగం చేసుకుంటున్నాం.. అంతకు మించిన దేశద్రోహం లేదంటారు డాక్టర్ జి.వి. రామాంజనేయులు. రైతులకు అండగా ఉంటూ, వాళ్లను పీడించే వర్గాలకు కంటిమీద కునుకులేకుండా చేసే ఆయన అంతరంగం ఇది.

ఢిల్లీోని వ్యవసాయ పరిశోధనా సంస్థలో డాక్టరేట్ చేస్తున్న రోజులవి. ఐ.ఏ.ఎస్. చదివి దేశానికి సేవ చేయాలనుకున్నాను. అందుకు ప్రిపేర్ అవుతూ భారత ఆర్థిక రంగాన్ని అధ్యయనం చేశాను. ప్రపంచంలో మరే దేశంలో లేని అపారమైన సహజ వనరులు, మానవ వనరులు మనకున్నాయి. అయినా మనం ఎందుకు వెనకబడి ఉన్నాం? మనందరికీ అన్నం పెట్టే రైతు అడుగడుగునా మోసపోతున్నాడు.

ఆర్థిక వ్యవస్థ మొత్తం రైతు మీద ఆధారపడి ఉంది కానీ రైతు మాత్రం అనాథగా మిగిలిపోతున్నాడు. రేయింబవళ్లు కష్టపడి రైతు పంట పండిస్తాడు. దాన్ని దళారులు దోచుకుపోతుంటే రైతు నిస్సహాయంగా మిగిలిపోతున్నాడు. ఇదీ సమస్యకు మూలం అనిపించింది. రైతు ఆనందంగా ఉంటేనే దేశం పచ్చగా ఉంటుందనుకున్నాను. ఆ సమయంలో ఐ.ఆర్.ఎస్.కు ఎంపికయ్యాను.

ఓ అధికారిగా దేశానికి సేవచేసే బదులు వ్యవసాయాన్ని సుసంపన్నం చేసేందుకు శాస్త్రవేత్తగా కృషి చేద్దాం అనుకొని ఐ.ఆర్.ఎస్. వదులుకున్నాను. పిహెచ్.డి. పూర్తి చేసి హైదరాబాద్‌లోని నూనె గింజల పరిశోధనా సంస్థలో సైంటిస్ట్‌గా చేరాను. రైతులతో నిత్యం కలిసే వాడిని. వాళ్ల కష్టాలు… కన్నీళ్లు చూసే వాడిని. రైతులు, రైతు సంఘాల చుట్టూ తిరుగుతున్న నన్ను చూసి “శాస్త్రవేత్తగా ఎదిగి… బాగా సంపాదించక ఈ రైతుల జపం ఏంటని” మా బాస్‌లు, సహచరులు అవహేళన చేసేవాళ్లు. అయినా నా దారి నాదే. అక్కడ పనిచేసిన పదేళ్ల కాలంలో రైతులతో అనుబంధం బాగా పెరిగింది. మన దేశంలో రైతులకు ఉన్న పరిజ్ఞానం ముందు శాస్త్రవేత్తలు దిగదుడుపే అని అర్థం అయింది. నిజంగా రైతులకు సేవ చే సేందుకు నేనెంచుకున్న మార్గం సరైంది కాదనిపించింది.

కదిలించిన ఆత్మహత్యలు
మన రాష్ట్రంలోని పలు జిల్లాల్లో జరిగిన రైతుల ఆత్మహత్యలు నన్ను కదిలించి వేశాయి. మనకు అన్నం పెట్టే రైతు ఆత్మహత్య చేసుకోవడం ఏమిటి? ఏదో ఒకటి చేయాలి… రైతును ఆదుకోవాలనుకున్నాను. నిజానికి నేనేమీ వ్యవసాయ కుటుంబం నుంచి రాలేదు. కర్నూలు జిల్లా డోన్‌లో పుట్టాను. నాన్నగారు రైల్వే ఉద్యోగి. బాపట్లలో అగ్రికల్చర్‌లో డిగ్రీ, పి.జీ చేశాను. అప్పటి నుంచే నాకు రైతులు, వాళ్ల సమస్యలతో సాన్నిహిత్యం ఏర్పడిందనుకుంటాను. ఉద్యోగం వదిలేసి పూర్తిగా రైతు సంక్షేమం కోసం పని చేయాలని నిర్ణయించుకున్నాను.

శాస్త్రవేత్తలుగా అప్పటి నా కొలీగ్స్ ఈ రోజున లక్ష రూపాయల వరకు జీతం సంపాదిస్తున్నారు. నాకు జీతంతో సంతృప్తి రాదనిపించింది. చాలామంది రిటైరయ్యాక ఏదో ఒక ఎన్.జి.వో పెట్టి సేవచేద్దాం అనుకుంటారు. ఒంట్లో ఓపిక అయిపోయాక ఏంసేవ చేస్తాం? అని ప్రశ్నించుకున్నాను.

ఉద్యోగం వదిలేశాను. కార్యరంగంలోకి దిగాను. విత్తనాలు, సేంద్రీయ ఎరువులు, నీటివనరులు, మద్దతు ధర.. ఇలా రైతు ఎదుర్కొంటున్న ఏదో ఒక సమస్యను తీసుకొని చాలా స్వచ్ఛంద సంస్థలు పనిచేస్తున్నాయి. వ్యవస్థలో మార్పు తెచ్చేందుకు కాకుండా ఆత్మసంతృప్తి కోసం పనిచేసే ఎన్.జి.ఓ.లు కూడా ఉన్నాయి. అలా కాకుండా రైతు సంక్షేమంపై సమగ్రంగా దృష్టి సారించే లక్ష్యంతో 2004లో సుస్థిర వ్యవసాయ కేంద్రం (సిఎస్ఎ)లో చేరాను.

టెక్నాలజీ భూతం
రైతుల ఆత్మహత్యలపై సంస్థ తరపున అధ్యయనం ప్రారంభించాం. వాళ్ల ఆత్మహత్యలకు కారణం వాళ్లు అప్పుల ఊబిలో కూరుకుపోవడం కాదు.. టెక్నాలజీ వైఫల్యం అని తేలింది. సైన్స్, టెక్నాలజీలు రెండువైపులా పదునున్న కత్తి వంటివి అంటారు. నిజానికి టెక్నాలజీ అనేదానికి ఒక నిర్ధిష్ట ప్రయోజనం ఉంటుంది. ఆ టెక్నాలజీని తయారు చేసే వారి ప్రయోజనాలు కూడా అందులో ఇమిడి ఉంటాయి. వ్యవసాయ యంత్రాల విషయంలో అదే జరిగింది. మన రైతులకు ఏమాత్రం తెలియని, మన పరిస్థితులకు ఏ మాత్రం సరిపడని యంత్రాలను బలవంతంగా వారి మీద రుద్దారు.

ఉన్న కష్టాలకు తోడుగా సాంకేతిక పరిజ్ఞానం భూతం వచ్చి మీదపడడంతో కలవర పడిన రైతులు ఆత్మహత్యలు చేసుకుంటున్నారని నిర్థారించాం. ఆ వివరాలతో ‘పత్తి విషాద కథ’ పేరిట ఓ పుస్తకాన్ని కూడా ప్రచురించాం. చిన్నచిన్న కమతాలున్న మన పొలాలకు అంత పెద్ద పెద్ద యంత్రాలు ఎందుకని ప్రశ్నించాం. మేం చెప్పిన దాన్ని మొదట చాలామంది అంగీకరించలేదు.

మెల్లగా మా వాదనను సమర్థించే వారి సంఖ్య పెరిగింది. మన దేశ ఆర్థిక, సామాజిక, పర్యావరణ పరిస్థితులకు అనుగుణమైన పరిజ్ఞానంతో వ్యవసాయం చేస్తే ఖర్చు తక్కువ. ఫలితం ఎక్కువగా ఉంటుంది. వేల సంవత్సరాల వ్యవసాయ పరిజ్ఞానం, అద్భుత వనరులున్న మన దేశ రైతులకు మిడిమిడి జ్ఞానంతో తయారైన విదేశీ యంత్రాలు, వంగడాలు ఎందుకనే ఆలోచన మన నేతలు, అధికారులు, శాస్త్రవేత్తలు, అధికారులకు ఎవరికీ రాకపోవడం విచారకరం. మన రైతులు ఎదుర్కొంటున్న సమస్యలకు మూలం ఇదే.

తిండి.. గాలి అన్నీ కలుషితం
అసాధారణ రీతిలో ఎరువులు, క్రిమి సంహారక మందులు వాడక తప్పని వంగడాలను రైతులకు అందిస్తున్నారు. ఎరువులు, క్రిమిసంహారకాల వల్ల దిగుబడి పెరగడం మాటేమో కానీ భూసారం నాశనం అవుతోంది. రైతులు, కూలీలు వ్యాధుల బారిన పడుతున్నారు. పండే పంట రసాయనాలమయం అవుతున్నది. ఫలితంగా ప్రజలు జబ్బుల పాలవుతున్నారు. ప్రభుత్వాలు, శాస్త్రవేత్తలకు వాటిని ఉత్పత్తి చేసే కంపెనీల మీద ఉన్న అవ్యాజమైన ప్రేమే ఇంతటి అనర్థానికి కారణం.

వ్యవసాయ రంగానికి లక్షకోట్లకు పైగా సబ్సిడీలు ఇస్తున్నాం అని ప్రభుత్వం గొప్పలు చెప్పుకుంటున్నా అందులో అధిక శాతం ఎరువులు, విత్తనాల కంపెనీల పాలవుతోంది. అన్ని కోట్ల రూపాయలు పెట్టి వాళ్లను పోషించే బదులు, ఆ డబ్బునే నేరుగా రైతు సంక్షేమానికి ఉపయోగిస్తే మన రైతు మహరాజులా బతుకుతాడు.

మనం తినే తిండిని, పీల్చే గాలిని నాశనం చేసే ఎరువులు, క్రిమిసంహారకాలు లేని పంటలు పండిస్తేనే రైతుకు, జాతికి కూడా భద్రత అని స్పష్టమయింది. మెల్లిగా రైతులకు నచ్చచెప్పడం మొదలుపెట్టాం. 2004లో 220 ఎకరాల్లో పురుగుల మందులు వాడకుండా సేంద్రీయ ఎరువులు ఉపయోగించి వ్యవసాయం చేసే విధంగా రైతులను ప్రోత్సహించాం.

మంచి ఫలితాలు రావడంతో 2005లో 25వే ల ఎకరాల్లో సేంద్రీయ ఎరువులతో పంటలు పండించాం. ప్రస్తుతం 3 వేలకు పైగా గ్రామాల్లో లక్షలాది ఎకరాల్లో సేంద్రీయ వ్యవసాయం జరుగుతున్నది. సేంద్రీయ వ్యవసాయం చేస్తున్న గ్రామాల్లో ఇప్పటి వరకు ఒక్కరైతు కూడా ఆత్మహత్య చేసుకోకపోవడం ఈ విధానం సాధించిన విజయానికి సంకేతం.

సేంద్రీయ అద్భుతం
ఖమ్మం జిల్లా పునుకుల గ్రామంలో వెయ్యి ఎకరాల్లో మేం చేపట్టిన సేంద్రీయ వ్యవసాయాన్ని మంత్రి రఘువీరారెడ్డి స్వయంగా పరిశీలించారు. నామమాత్రపు ఖర్చుతో అధికదిగుబడి సాధించ డంతో పాటు పర్యావరణాన్ని కాపాడే విధంగా ఉన్న సేంద్రీయ వ్యవసాయం ఆయనకు బాగా నచ్చింది. సేంద్రీయ వ్యవసాయాన్ని రాష్ట్రమంతా విస్తరిస్తాం అని హామీ ఇచ్చారు. కానీ షరామామూలే కొందరు అధికారులు, శాస్త్రవేత్తలు అడ్డుపుల్ల వేశారని వినికిడి. అయినా మా పోరాటం ఆపలేదు.

రైతుల ఆత్మహత్యలను ఆపేందుకు మార్గాలు ఏమిటని ఓ సమీక్షలో ప్రధాని శాస్త్రవేత్తలను ప్రశ్నించినప్పుడు దశాబ్దాలుగా పాడిన పాటనే వాళ్లు పాడారు. అప్పుడు మా సేంద్రీయ వ్యవసాయ పద్ధతులను ఆయనకు వివరించాం. ” మీరు నిధులివ్వండి… దేశవ్యాప్తంగా చేసి చూపిస్తాం” అనేసరికి ఆయన 182 కోట్ల నిధులు మంజూరు చేశారు. 2014 నాటికి దేశవ్యాప్తంగా 25లక్షల ఎకరాల్లో సేంద్రీయ వ్యవసాయం చేయాలని మా అందరి లక్ష్యం.

అంతకు ముందుగానే ఆ లక్ష్యాన్ని చేరుకోగలమనే విశ్వాసంతో స్వచ్ఛంద కార్యకర్తలు, రైతులు కృషి చేస్తున్నారు. సేంద్రీయ పద్ధతుల్లో పండించిన పంటను ప్రత్యేక దుకాణాల ద్వారా లేదా విక్రయకేంద్రాల ద్వారా రైతులే దగ్గరలోని పట్టణాల్లో విక్రయిస్తున్నారు. ఎరువుల వాడని ఆహార ఉత్పత్తులను ప్రజలు చక్కగా ఆదరిస్తున్నారు.

జన్యుమార్పిడి శాపం
సహజసిద్ధమైన ఆహారం తింటే మనం, మనతో పాటు సమాజం కూడా ఆరోగ్యంగా ఉంటుంది. కానీ మనకు తెలియకుండానే, చాపకింద నీరులా జన్యుమార్పిడి జరిగిన వంగడాలను మనపై రుద్దారు నేతలు, శాస్త్రవేత్తలు. ఏం వంగడాలు వేసుకోవాలో, ఏం ఎరువులు, పురుగుల మందులు వాడాలో, ఎవరికి, ఎంతకు ఆమ్మాలో అన్నీ ప్రభుత్వమే నిర్ణయిస్తుంది.

అయినా ప్రభుత్వ నిర్వాకానికి రైతు బలైతే మాత్రం ఎవరూ బాధ్యత వహించరు. మన రాష్ట్రంలో ఎందరు రైతులు ఆత్మహత్యలు చేసుకున్నారనే ఖచ్చితమైన సమాచారం ప్రభుత్వం దగ్గర లేనేలేదంటే పరిస్థితి అర్థం చేసుకోవచ్చు. వేల సంవత్సరాలుగా సహజసిద్ధంగా మనం పంటలు పండించుకుంటుంటే ఈ జన్యు మార్పిడి చేసిన పత్తి, మిరప, టమాటో పంటలు ఎందుకంటూ రైతుల్లో అవగాహన కల్పించే పని మొదలుపెట్టాం.

జన్యు మార్పిడి పంటల వల్ల ఎన్నో అనర్ధాలు మొదలయ్యాయి. ఆ పంటలు మంచివా? కాదా? వాటి ఫలితాలను పరీక్షించకుండానే మనమీద రుద్దుతున్నారు. తాను ఏ గింజలు నాటుకోవాలో నిర్ణయించుకొనే అధికారం రైతుకు లేకపోవడం బాధాకరం. జి.ఎం. పంటలపై మెల్లిగా దేశవ్యాప్తంగా ఉద్యమం మొదలైంది. దేశవ్యాప్తంగా 150 సంస్థలతో జన్యుమార్పిడి పంటలు లేని భారత దేశం కోసం ఒక సమాఖ్యగా ఏర్పడి పోరాటం ప్రారంభించాం. దాంతో ప్రభుత్వం ఆలోచనలో పడింది.

ఒక పోరాటం..విజయం
తాజాగా బిటి వంకాయపై సాగించిన సమరం ఓ అద్భుతం. సమాజంలోని అన్ని వర్గాలు సర్కారు నిర్ణయంపై సమరశంఖం పూరించాయి. వంకాయకు పురుగు ఎక్కువ పడుతుంది కాబట్టి పురుగును చంపే పదార్థాన్ని జోడించిన వంగడం తయారు చేశాం.. మీరంతా నెత్తికెత్తుకోండనడం విడ్డూరం. వంగడంలోనే విషం ఉంటే మనల్ని నేరుగా విషం తినమనేగా అర్థం. దీనిపై శాస్త్రవేత్తలు, మేధావులు, అధికారులు చివరకు సామాన్య ప్రజలు కూడా యుద్ధం ప్రకటించారు.

వ్యవసాయ విధానాల విషయంలో ప్రభుత్వం ఏకపక్షంగా కాకుండా ప్రజాస్వామ్య పద్ధతిలో వ్యవహరించాలనే వాదనతో మంత్రి జైరాంరమేష్ ఏకీభవించారు. సమాజంలోని అన్ని వర్గాల నుంచి వచ్చిన వ్యతిరేకతకు తలొగ్గి బిటి వంకాయతో పాటు, జన్యుమార్పిడి పంటల వాడకాన్ని ప్రభుత్వం ప్రస్తుతానికి నిషేధించింది. ఇది ప్రజలు సాధించిన గొప్ప విజయం.

ఆదాయ కమిషన్ అవశ్యం
ఒక ఉద్యోగి జీవితం పెద్దగా ఒడిదుడుకులు లేకుండా సాగిపోతుంది. ప్రభుత్వ ఉద్యోగులకు ఐదేళ్లకోసారి కమిటీలు వేసి జీతాలు పెంచుతారు కానీ దేశానికి పట్టెడన్నం పెట్టే రైతుకు మాత్రం ఎలాంటి భద్రత లేదు. శ్రమకు తగిన ఆదాయం వస్తుందన్న గ్యారెంటీ లేదు. అతని తిండికి కానీ, బతుకుకు కానీ భరోసా లేదు. పైగా ఎరువులు, విత్తనాల కోసం వీధి పోరాటాలు చేయాలి. దళారుల చేతిలో మోసపోవాలి. ఇలా ఎప్పుడూ ఏదో ఒక ఉపద్రవం రైతును వెంటాడుతూనే ఉంటుంది.

అందుకే గడిచిన పదేళ్లలో కోటి మందికి పైగా రైతులు వ్యవసాయానికి దూరమయ్యారు. వాళ్లకు ఏదైనా ప్రత్యామ్నాయ ఆదాయ మార్గం ఉందా అంటే అదీ లేదు. ఎరువులు, పురుగుమందుల పుణ్యమా అని వ్యవసాయ భూములు నిస్సారం అయిపోతున్నాయి. పంటచేలు ప్లాట్లుగా మారిపోతున్నాయి. వ్యవసాయం చేయలేక, భూమి లేక రైతులు వ్యవసాయానికి దూరం అయితే మన భవిష్యత్తు ఎలా ఉంటుందనే ఆలోచన ఎవరూ చేయరు. ఒక ఉద్యోగి జీతం పదేళ్లలో కనీసం రెట్టింపు అవుతుంది.

దేశంలోని ఏ రైతు ఆదాయం అయినా రెట్టింపు అయిందేమో చూడండి. ఎంపీలు, ఎమ్మెల్యేల జీతాలు భారీగా పెరిగాయి. మరి మనకు ఓట్లు వేసి గెలిపించిన రైతుల జీవన ప్రమాణాలు ఎందుకు పెరగడం లేదని ఏ ఒక్క రాజకీయ నాయకుడూ ఆలోచించడెందుకని? అందుకే రైతులకు స్థిరమైన ఆదాయం కల్పించేందుకు ప్రభుత్వం అదాయ కమిషన్ వెయ్యాలి. వ్యవసాయ రంగ ప్రాధాన్యతను ప్రభుత్వం గుర్తించాలి. అలా జరిగి రైతు ముఖంలో ఆనందం నిండే వరకు నా పోరాటం సాగుతూనే ఉంటుంది.

జూ ఇంటర్వ్యూ: టి. కుమార్
ఫోటోలు: ఎం.ఎస్. రాజు

-మనం తినే తిండిలో 51 శాతం రసాయనాల వల్ల కలుషితం అవుతోంది.
-తల్లి పాలలో కూడా క్రిమిసంహారకాల ఆనవాళ్లు కనిపించాయి.
– క్రిమిసంహారకాలు వాడడం వల్ల ఏటా 2లక్షల మంది కూలీలు, రైతులు చనిపోతున్నారు. 2 కోట్ల మంది జబ్బుల పాలవుతున్నారు.
– క్రిమిసంహారకాలు వాడిన తిండి తినడం వల్ల క్యాన్సర్, చర్మవ్యాధులు, కిడ్నీ, లివర్ సమస్యలు, హృద్రోగ సమస్యలు వస్తాయి. రోగ నిరోధక శక్తి తగ్గుతుంది.
-సహజమైన ఆహారం తీసుకోవడం వల్ల మన ఆరోగ్యం, తద్వారా సమాజం బావుంటుంది.

navya. అమ్మకానికో గ్రామం!
2005లో మహారాష్ట్రలోని డోర్లి గ్రామాన్ని అమ్మకానికి పెట్టారు. వ్యవసాయం చేయలేక ఆ గ్రామంలోని రైతులందరూ ఎరువుల వాడకం వల్ల నిస్సారంగా మారిన భూములను వదిలేసి వలస వెళ్లేందుకు సిద్ధం అయ్యారు. మన వ్యవసాయ రంగం దుస్థితికి ఇది నిలువుటద్దం. ఈ సంఘటన ప్రపంచవ్యాప్తంగా సంచలనం సృష్టించింది. మేం అక్కడకు వెళ్లి అతి తక్కువ ఖర్చుతో సేంద్రీయ పద్ధతుల్లో వ్యవసాయం చేయడం ఎలాగో చెప్పాం.

రైతులు కొత్త పరిజ్ఞానాన్ని మరచిపోయి… సేంద్రీయ పద్ధతిలో సాగుచేసేందుకు ముందుకు రావడానికి రెండేళ్లు పట్టింది. ఆ గ్రామం మళ్లీ ఇప్పుడు సేంద్రీయ వ్యవసాయంతో కళకళలాడుతున్నది. మన రైతు మనసు స్ఫటికలా స్వచ్ఛమైనది. ప్రతిఒక్కరినీ నమ్ముతాడు. నమ్మకం ఆధారంగా పెనవేసుకున్న సంబంధాలే మన దేశానికి, రైతుకీ శ్రీరామరక్ష.