Indian Agrarian Crisis now moved to

Farmer-the most endangered species

Vidarbha farmers complain against bribe-seeking officers

Posted by Ramoo on February 15, 2007

From correspondents in India, 08:04 PM IST

As many as 200 relief-seeking farmers of this suicide-prone district have filed affidavits complaining against government officers who allegedly asked for bribes for disbursing sanctioned relief.

The farmers, some of whom say they actually paid bribes up to Rs.2,000 to get relief cheques worth Rs.5,000, handed over their affidavits to P.K. Mishra, agriculture secretary of the central government, here Wednesday.

He was here for a meeting of the district collectors of western Vidarbha region to review implementation of the relief package announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his July 2006 visit here.

The prime minister’s visit had come in the backdrop of a large number of debt-ridden farmers committing suicides.

Mishra told reporters after the meeting that the implementation was going on smoothly and expeditiously.

Disturbed on receiving the affidavits, however, he instructed Yavatmal District Collector Harshdeep Kamble to visit every sub-centre and some villages in the district and prepare a report based on first-hand information, officials said.

Amravati Divisional Commissioner S.K. Goyal attended the meeting besides the collectors of Amravati, Yavatmal, Akola, Washim and Buldana in western Vidarbha.

Incidentally, four farmers committed suicide – two each in Washim and Yavatmal districts – during the agriculture secretary’s visit to the region, taking the month’s toll so far to 41. Seventy farmers had ended their lives last month.

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