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Tractors seized, power cut off, say Vidharbha farmers

Nagpur, Nov 20 (IANS) Even as Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan decided to accord top priority to Vidarbha, which has one of the highest incidence of farmers suicides in the country, authorities have seized tractors and cut off power supplies of debt-ridden farmers, that too on the eve of harvesting season, a farmers’ group said Saturday.

‘The state’s Land Development Bank has seized nearly three dozen tractors belonging to debt-ridden farmers, while the electric department has snapped off power supply to nearly 1.4 lakh farmers in the past few days for not paying their bills,’ said Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti chief Kishor Tiwari.

‘The sad part is this is happening just when harvesting is due to start by month-end,’ he said.

‘The Nagpur session of the state legislature will begin December 1. Even this morning, the new chief minister made an announcement that Vidarbha would be given top priority,’ Tiwari said.

Tiwari said unseasonal rains in large parts of Vidarbha have already hit the debt-ridden farmers badly. Last year, farmers had to contend with a semi-drought, he said.

‘With one critical year after another, farmers have no option but to commit suicide. The government agencies too do not understand the situation,’ Tiwari said.

Vidarbha has witnessed over 7,000 farmland suicides in the past five years, prompting the announcement of four developmental packages worth over Rs.10,000 crore, including one by the Prime Minister.

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