Maharashtra farmers seek probe into relief disbursal

Nagpur, June 1 (IANS) Over 4,000 farmers Tuesday held a rally in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal town against the ‘failure’ of the state government’s package for debt-ridden agriculturists in the Vidarbha region and demanded a CBI probe into their suicides.

The protestors also staged a day’s hunger strike Tuesday accusing some state officials of allegedly indulging in corrupt practices in the matter of the relief packages intended for the farmers and widows of farmers who committed suicide, said Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) president Kishor Tiwari.

‘We have demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to find out where the Rs.3,750 crore has gone and why farmers continue to commit suicide despite the availability of these funds,’ Tiwari told IANS after the rally Tuesday evening.

Tiwari said four years ago Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced the package which was meant to be implemented by the state government.

‘However, nobody knows where all the money has gone and now the state government has sought another package of Rs.7,560 crore from the central government. We have demanded that the CBI should conduct an inquiry into the matter,’ he said.

Tiwari pointed out that even the Comptroller and Auditor General in its report has mentioned how the government has pumped in over Rs.5,000 crore here but farmers still continued to kill themselves.

Next fortnight, a group of over a thousand farmers and farmers’ widows will march 150 km from Yavatmal to Nagpur, and then proceed to New Delhi to meet United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi and apprise her of the burning issues concerning three million farmers of Vidarbha.

The VJAS said that it would demand a social audit of the mega-packages declared for Vidarbha over the past few years and demand action against those involved in alleged corrupt activities.

Vidarbha region comprises 11 backward districts — some of which are infested by Maoists — of east Maharashtra which has the worst record on suicides by farmers.

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