ibnlive » India

Mar 06, 2008 at 12:45pm IST

Farmers sell village, Chidu's waiver useless

Dorli (Vidharba): The village of Dorli in Vidharba is up for sale.

Out of the 63 families that call it home, only 13 qualify for the government's recently announced loan waiver.

The rest have more than five acres of land and debt ranging from Rs 15,000-20,000. None of them have the money to take up the finance minister's offer of the one-time settlement of loans. For them, selling off their village is the only option.

Says Dorli's Sarpanch, Dharampal Hariom Jagrunde,"If somebody is ready to pay us a decent price, we are ready to sell out village today."

Fellow villager Arun Chambare is also ready to sell his three and a half acres of land. Two years ago, Chambare took out a loan of Rs 15,000 to grow cotton. However, the crop failed and he defaulted on his loan.

The following year, when the bank refused to loan him more money, he was forced to borrow Rs 20,000 more from a money-lender. Unfortunately, a drought has made him default on that loan, as well.

While his bank loan has been waived off, the moneylender has been threatening Chambare.

"The moneylender told me the superintendent of police is his friend who will arrest me and beat me up," Chambare said.

Fed up of this state of events, there is now a big "For Sale" sign right in the middle of the village.

Houses, animals, farms, the whole of Dorli village is for sale. In fact things here are so bad, the villagers say they have decided to give up farming and if they get a good price, sell the village and perhaps start life afresh.

"It was in vidharba that farmers started committing suicide. It's sad that the farmers of this region are getting no benefit from this scheme," sais Shetkar Sanghatana's founding member, Vijay Javandiya.

Experts feel the plight of Dorli village highlights how inadequate the government's loan waiver scheme has been for Vidharba. They feel that for Vidharba's farmers to truly benefit, those with upto 25 acres of land must have their loans waived off. As the region's farmers live on in hope, one village has all but given up and put itself on the auction block.