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Rumours galore on Gajendra’s death: Its not politics but the policies, says foreign media

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Farmer Gajendra

By Gaurav Sharma

A day after a farmer committed suicide by hanging himself at a protest rally led by the Aam Aadmi Party in Jantar Mantar against the contentious Land Acquisition Bill, countless commentaries, from different people, are being spelled out on the mortifying incident.

Even as the allegations flew thick and fast between the political parties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused to blame any single party for the incident saying, “We should solve this together. The problem is very old, and rampant in the country.”

Calling it a “collective responsibility”, Modi said, “We need to find a solution to the farmers’ misery. We can’t leave a farmer unsupported, but instead have to be with him at his moment of peril, and also for his future.”

The international media, blamed the policies of the government as the major cause for the wave of suicides that have devoured the farming fraternity. The Guardian, a UK daily said, “Rising prices for seeds and fertilizers, and banking reforms that ended up forcing farmers to turn to loan sharks, have magnified the trouble.”

Another UK daily, The Independent echoed similar views, even though it did take into account the unprecedented damage that unseasonal rainfall had inflicted on the crops this year.

BBC highlighted the precarious nature of the farming occupation, citing a Delhi-based Centre for Study of Developing Societies report which proclaimed farming to have become risky, stressful and unrewarding.

After reports came out from the family of the deceased farmer, saying that Gajendra was stressed after the unexpected loss of crops, the Dausa district administration was quick to dismiss “loss of crops” as the reason behind the suicide.

“Loss to crops does not appear to be a reason of suicide. His family’s financial condition is fine and they have farm houses and his uncle is the local village sarpanch,” Dausa’s Additional District Collector, Kailash Sharma said.

According to the Additional District Collector not a single farm in Baswa Tehsil, where the farmer’s village falls, is entitled for compensation.

“During the survey conducted by the district administration to assess loss to crops, it was found that the damage in all the farms in that Tehsil was below 33 per cent therefore no farmer was eligible for compensation”, he said.

The New York Times also did not rule out “political motivation” as the reason behind the suicide, referring to the 90’s era when scores of young people committed suicide to protest the increasing use of caste quotas to fill central government jobs.

It also pointed direction to a number of suicides that took place during the agitation to carve out the separate state of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh.

While controversies are abreast as to the reason behind Gajendra’s death, all reports by the international media houses and research organisations concur with one fact– that more needs to be done to empower the farmers.

More so, to give them the financial wherewithal to withstand a shock season or two. Certainly, it is time to rubbish the debt waivers and crop loans into the bin. Forever.

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Delhi Govt Issues Advisory for Spraying Pesticides to Deal With Locust Attack

Delhi government will also run awareness programmes regarding the same threat

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The threat of locusts is increasing in North India. Pixabay

To deal with the attack of locusts in the national capital, the Delhi government has issued an advisory for spraying pesticides, Cabinet Minister Gopal Rai said on Thursday.

Rai said in view of the increasing threat of locusts in north India, the Agriculture Department of the Delhi government will run awareness programmes to make the people and farmers of Delhi aware of this new threat.

“Also, the Delhi Government has issued advisory on spraying pesticides and its quantity,” Rai tweeted.

The circular was issued in order to prevent a probable attack in Delhi by a swarm of locusts, which are reportedly present in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

“All concerned authorities are hereby advised to take preventive measures to control and eradicate the locusts to avoid devastating effect on standing agricultural and horticultural crops, vegetation, plants, gardens, orchard etc. in Delhi,” the circular said.

Pesticides
“Also, the Delhi Government has issued advisory on spraying pesticides and its quantity,” Cabinet Minister Gopal Rai tweeted. Wikimedia Commons

It directed that awareness programmes be organised for the public and farmers to prevent and control any such invasion by locusts in Delhi.

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“As the swarm usually fly in day time, and rest during night time therefore the locusts should not be allowed to rest especially during night,” it said.

The circular added that the authorities may carry out spraying of insecticides or pesticides during the night.

The chemicals suggested for spraying were Malathion 50% EC; Malathion 25% WP; Chlorpyrifos 20 % EC; and Chlorpyrifos 50 % EC. (IANS)

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COVID-19: Congress Urges Yogi to Open Places of Worship

Lucknow Congress president Mukesh Singh Chauhan has written a letter to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath

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Yogi Adityanath Rudrabhishek
Yogi Adityanath performs Rudrabhishek in Gorakhnath temple for safety from Corona. Wikimedia Commons

The Uttar Pradesh unit of the Congress party has written to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday to open all places of worship which are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter has been written by Lucknow Congress president Mukesh Singh Chauhan.

The letter said that the way the Central and State governments have issued orders to open shops for essential commodities, in the same way now all the big and small places of worship — temples, churches, mosques, gurdwaras should also be thrown open for the devotees.

Chauhan in his letter said, “India is a multi-religious and faith oriented country. Here people believe that worship of God will reduce their suffering. But due to the closure of the places of worship, people are not able to pray to their God. Therefore, major religious places should be immediately opened with social distancing in full compliance with the lockdown norms.

Congress
Chauhan from Congress, in his letter said, “India is a multi-religious and faith oriented country. Here people believe that worship of God will reduce their suffering”. Pixabay

Chauhan said sanitizer machines should be placed at the entry of major places of worship just like it is done in government offices. He also said if liquor shops can be opened, in the same way, the temples, mosques, gurudwaras, churches should also be opened in full compliance of the social distancing norms.

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The president of the Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad, Mahant Narendra Giri, had also raised similar demand of opening of temples across the state. He had demanded from the Yogi government to open the doors of all temples for the devotees.

Giri had said, “Because of the closure of temples for the last two months, the livelihood of priests and other temple staff is also getting affected. When the government can allow liquor shops to be opened for revenue, why temples should not be allowed to open for the same reason.”

He had assured that after the permission to open the temples, the priests would follow the rules and protocols of social distancing and get the devotees to do it too. (IANS)

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New Reforms and Alternative Markets Likely To Benefit Farmers

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farmers
New reforms will benefit farmers who are reeling under the Covid-19 crisis. Pixabay

The Modi government in order to double the income of farmers by 2022 announced a slew of measures last week, and it is widely expected that these reforms will benefit farmers who are reeling under the Covid-19 crisis. Post Coronavirus as state reopens farmers might benefit.

IANS spoke to Ashok Dalwai, chairman of the Committee for Doubling Farmers’ Income, on the issue of strategic reforms initiated by the government and their importance to the farm sector.

He said the alternative market provided to the farmers will give them more earning power. The reforms will unshackle the agriculture value chains by deregulating the essential commodity trade and introducing a Central law to ease inter-state farm trade, effectively overriding the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis that have shown resistance to change in the past.

“We are not ending the APMC, but reforming it. Till now APMC was regulated by the state governments, now the private sector can establish its own APMC which will give an alternative market to farmers,” Dalwai said.

He said the way the telecom sector provided options to the consumers to choose the operators of their choice, in the same way the private AMPC will give farmers the choice to sell their produce at a better price anywhere in India. “The proposed amendment to the Essential Commodities Act of 1955 will ensure seamless movement of farm produce not only inter-state, but also within the state. Anyone having a central license can buy and sell anywhere,” Dalwai said.

Farmers
Ashok Dalwai says Alternative markets might help corona struck farmers. Pixabay

Dalwai said many states have already adopted the reforms and more will join in the future. “The new law related to APMC will be definitely adopted by the state governments and the Centre will provide the framework for inter-state trade of agricultural produce. If a farmer in UP wants to sell his produce to a market in Karnataka, he does not need to go there. He can do so online. The way e-NAM works for APMC mandis, e-platform will work for such farmers.”

He said the amendment to the Essential Commodities Act has been initiated with the sole purpose to provide better prices to the farmers. The government has also decided to free certain categories of agricultural products such as cereals, pulses, oilseeds, onions, and potatoes from the government’s control and lend more predictability to even export policies.

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On the question of challenges due to Covid-19 with regard to doubling farmers’ income, Dalwai said, “The farmers have not been impacted due to the pandemic. There will be no problem in achieving the target of doubling farmers’ income by the year 2022.” (IANS)