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Cruel Joke: How governments have continually mocked Indian farmers

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By Meghna

The dependence of any society on agriculture is an undeniable fact. Regardless of this, the Indian farmer is at the fringes of economic development and barely receives enough economic support from the government, despite being the chief source of production and chief supplier of raw materials. Year after year, the farmers are subjected to mockery in the name of compensation of losses.

Recently, the PDP-BJP alliance government of Jammu and Kashmir derided the woes of the farmers by doling out meager amounts ranging from Rs.47- Rs.378, as compensation to the peasants whose crops were destroyed in the 2014 floods. This is not the first time the farmers have received such a puny sum of money as compensation.

In 2013, the farmers of Vidarbha region of Maharashtra got pittance as compensation despite the chief minister announcing Rs 2,000 crores as aid for the flood hit regions of Vidarbha, a report in The Hindu had revealed. The farmers incurred losses amounting to Rs 15,000 during the monsoon floods of 2013, but received meager amounts in the range of Rs 80-100 from the government as compensation.

Year after year, the farmers incur such losses and the government rubs salt on their wounds. The compensation provided by the government can barely aid the farmer and their families in providing themselves one day’s meal.

There have also been cases where farmers of Agra got cheques in the name of deceased farmers.

The scanty amounts have time and again made the farmers take harsh steps, like in Haryana, in 2015, a farmer committed suicide owing to the scanty amount he received as compensation. More and more families of farmers are being pushed towards destitution by the government.

This year, in Mathura, some farmers who had incurred losses amounting to Rs. 80,000, owing to the off season rains in March, received cheques worth Rs. 73, Rs. 186 and Rs. 750, as per a report.

With the passage of time, such instances of bizarre distribution of relief funds to the farmers have magnified in frequency and magnitude. A recent report published by DNA exposed the Haryana Government has giving away amounts as low as Re 1, Rs. 2 and Rs. 3 to the farmers of Mewat as compensation for the crops they lost during the 2014 hailstorms.

When the forces of nature act, there is nothing the poor farmer can do. Agriculture being the sustenance of everyone, the government should take some actions to pull the farmers from the depths of poverty.

Various governments have come and gone, but the condition of the poor Indian farmer has remained unchanged.

In light of such abysmal compensation sums being awarded, why would anyone want to become a farmer in India?

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Monsoon Road Trips from Mumbai

The hills are alive this monsoon. The best way to feel the cool winds and witness the mountain storms is to do it on one’s own terms – behind the wheel

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Here are some top recommendations for your next best road trip in this season of Monsoon. Pixabay

The floods in Mumbai have been in the news lately, an annual chaos that seems to have become part and parcel of life in the country’s financial capital. However, the monsoons are not a season to dread and just outside the city, as the curious traveller ventures higher into the Western Ghats, there are some picture-perfect destinations for the season. Here are some top recommendations.

Lonavala
Lonavala would be on top of the monsoon destination list for most Mumbaikars. Wrapped in fog, this historic region gains a completely new avatar in the rains as the forested mountain slopes regenerate and the waterfalls come to life. One of these is Kune Falls, which roars amidst a pristine verdant scenery.

The Lohagad Fort has always been one of the most captivating sites on this route and the monsoon mist gives it an allure straight of a medieval-theme video game or movie. A trek to Liones Point is recommended – the season would require special precautions like monsoon-ready footwear and waterproof clothing. While in Lonavala town, a visit to the lake is not a bad idea.

Khandala
Just next to Lonavala, one can reach the quaint hill town of Khandala, perched at close to 2000 feet above sea level. The mild monsoon temperatures and dramatic scenery make this place an ideal weekend getaway from the bustling metro, not to mention the splendorous drive on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Some of the popular viewpoints here are the Tiger’s Leap and the Amrutanjan Point. Other attractions here include the Buddhist cave temples at Karla and the calm and placid Bhushi Lake.

khandala
The mild monsoon temperatures and dramatic scenery make Khandala an ideal weekend getaway from the bustling metro.

Mahabaleshwar
A jewel tucked in the lap of the mighty Sahyadari Mountains; Mahabaleshwar offers visitors a curious mix of colonial heritage and striking Indian history. Built by Shivaji, Pratapgad Fort has an enigmatic presence in the landscape here, a site of many important events.

Those looking to enjoy some of the high elevations will love a trek to the summit of Wilson Point, famous for its panoramic views of the valley below. The Needle Hole Point is another famous place to catch a glimpse of the scenic landscapes. Venna Lake is another centrepiece attraction at Mahabaleshwar while the hilltop Krishnabai Temple is famous for its architecture and Krishna statue.

More and more travellers are choosing a car rental over public transport. Rates are increasingly affordable and self drive gives total control over the pace of the journey. One can make impromptu stops and detours and there is complete privacy.

Finding a car rental in Mumbai is as simple as a few taps on an app. With platforms like Zoomcar, registered users can book a vehicle in a matter of minutes. One can choose from a wide range of cars – maybe a hatchback or sedan for the family getaway – or maybe a large SUV for the boisterous group road trip. 24/7 on-road support is one of the assurances that self drive rentals offer.

The hills are alive this monsoon. The best way to feel the cool winds and witness the mountain storms is to do it on one’s own terms – behind the wheel.