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Maya gives Rs 250 to farmers dying of drought

CNN-IBN
Nov 14, 2007 at 11:14pm IST

New Delhi: Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh has been making many tall claims and issuing advertisements tom-tomming the achievements of her government, but the reality on the ground is quite different.

CNN-IBN’s sister channel IBN7 has uncovered that the state government's compensation for drought-hit farmers in the Bundelkhand area amounts to a paltry sum between Rs 250 to Rs 400 in cheques.

Officials seem to have forgotten the farmers' struggle in previous years in an area that has been facing drought conditions for the last four years. This, despite the fact that the area has been declared a drought zone.

Incidents of suicides also have risen in the area. Farmers in Allahabad are a shocked and a disappointed lot. They say the government's relief amount of 250 does not even come close to covering their loss

“The amount is nothing compared with what we spend on getting the raw material. The manure is Rs 5 per kg, electricity bill alone climbs up to Rs 750. What would we do with Rs 250?” asks an agitated farmer Shiv Prasad.

This is not the first time farmers in India have been given a raw deal. In August, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Vidarbha – infamous as India’s farmer suicide belt – to review how farmers have benefited from the Rs 3,750 crore he gave last year, he was in for a shock.

Drought-stricken farmers had been given compensation cheques of as low a sum as Rs 300. Shockingly, some farmers did not even get those as their cheques bounced.

“I deposited the cheque but an officer said there was no money in the bank and returned it,” said Sunita Lasankute, a farmer’s kin who was given a cheque but didn’t get the money.

It was the same hopeless situation for cotton farmers Bhavrao Ingole and Sukdev Meshram.

Bhavrao received a paltry cheque of Rs 350 from the Prime Minister's fund but never saw the money as the cheque bounced due to insufficient funds.

“When I went to deposit the cheque, I was told that I was late. Then I got it renewed but that cheque bounced too,” says Ingole.

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