Are We Ignoring Farmers In The Race For Development?

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Farmers form an integral part of the society, and our daily needs and lives depend on them. But lately, we have been devoting ourselves to the development of our infrastructure and technology that farmers are being cut out of the picture. The plight of farmers goes back decades, and every time they are given hope through false promises, which somehow never seem to be met. Farmers are being used as tools to fill the vote box. It is time to ask the real question. Are we ignoring farmers in the race for development?

Most of the farmers in India are poor, and the government is trying to woo them into giving away their land for construction projects. Compensation being offered isn’t enough, and they feel they are giving away more than they are receiving. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train, which has been the talk of the town for quite some time would rob farmers in small villages of many hectares of land. The farmers are agitated at the meager sum of money being offered in exchange, and they want more.

According to reports in Ht, Bhagwan Dagdu Mali, a farmer in the village of Diva claims, “In monsoon, we grow paddy on our farm while in another season we grow vegetables like okra, eggplant and chillies. We also have a small pond where breed fish,” he said, adding that the family cultivates approximately 3,000 kg of rice every year. Mali, who dropped out of school after Class 9, said, “If the land is taken away by the government, we will lose Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000 a month.” Protests are expected to erupt again against the plan.

There was a similar crisis when the proposition for the Mumbai-Nagpur super expressway was announced. India, being the 2nd most populated country, with an exponentially growing population needs to provide space for its people to live. Farmer’s land is being used to build housing, which once again reduces the quality of the produce.

The government has failed to provide substantial support for the farmers, especially the poor ones. Natural calamities are a major contributor in destroying the produce. Farmers have been troubled by delayed rains and change in climates, and when their produce is destroyed, they are left alone to fend for themselves.

Farmers have complained about receiving paltry amounts for their produce. The work and money they put in for growing the crop exceeded the amount they were receiving for it. March 2018 saw thousands of farmers from all across Maharashtra arrive at Mumbai by foot, covering a gigantic distance of 180 kilometers! They demanded a loan waiver and a reform around the minimum support price.

Farmers are deep in debt, and as the government and weather neither support them, we witness an increasing number of suicides, as they are unable to repay their loans. The country’s future lies on the shoulders of the farmers, and we hope to fulfill their demands, and prevent them from slipping into further poverty.

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