Hingoli, Nov 23 (IANS): In a bizarre proposal, at least 10 debt-hit farmers from Goregaon village of Hingoli have asked Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to ‘sell off’ their body organs and recover the outstanding loans from local banks or private lenders, officials said here on Thursday.
The farmers have shot off a letter to the CM with an offer to sell off their eyes, liver, kidneys and other organs, the proceeds of which could be used to repay their pending dues.
The shocking move elicited sharp reactions from Congress Leader of Opposition Vijay Wadettiwar and Shiv Sena (UBT) farmer leader Kishore Tiwari.
The farmers with unpaid loans are: Deepak Kawarkhe (Rs 3 lakh), Namdeo Patange (Rs 2.99 lakh), Dheeraj Mapari (Rs 2.25 lakh), Gajanan Kawarkhe (Rs 2 lakh), Rameshwar Kawarkhe, Ashok Kawarkhe, Gajanan Jadhav (Rs1.50 lakh, each), Dashrath Mule (Rs 1.20 lakh), Vijay Kawarkhe (Rs 1.10 lakh), Rameshwar Kawarkhe (Rs 90,000).
“We have submitted the memorandum addressed to the CM to the Sengaon Tehsildar and the Goregaon Police Station here with a request to forward it to the CM. They have accepted our communication, but there is no further response,” one of the signatories, Gajanan Kawarkhe, told IANS.
In order to ‘assist’ the authorities, the farmers have even issued a ‘rate-card’ for their precious body organs -- Rs 90,000 per liver, Rs 75,000 per kidney and Rs 25,000 per eye.
After the step, Kawarkhe said that now the wives, children and other family members have also volunteered to part with their body organs, limbs, etc., "to avoid the continuous harassment by the local banks and private loan-sharks".
“This is just the beginning… Hundreds of farmers from Hingoli and neighbouring districts are planning to come forward and ‘sell off’ their body organs to clear their loans and hope to live peacefully,” claimed Jadhav, Mule and others.
Explaining their frustration, Kawarkhe said that the farmers here cultivate cotton and soyabean but this year, nearly 80 per cent of the crop failed owing to the weather problems and diseases hitting the standing crops in the fields.
The Kharif season was practically wiped out with severe losses and now the farmers have no money or resources to take up sowing for the current Rabi season, the exasperated tillers explained.
“There is no help forthcoming in the form of crop insurance or even the government’s big announcement of loan-waiver. There is no proper pricing mechanism or minimum support price, and our cultivation costs are double the income. It has become impossible to survive now… We have no options left but to sell off our body organs and repay our debts,” rued Kawarkhe.
In Mumbai, Wadettiwar termed this “as an extremely serious matter” and urged the state government to immediately declare drought in Maharashtra and extend much-needed aid to the suffering farmers.
In Yavatmal, Tiwari slammed the government for ignoring the ground realities or the critical drought situation gripping large parts of the state that has compelled the farmers to resort to such extreme measures.
“If these farmers had been legislators or parliamentarians, then the state government would have rushed with ‘khokhas’ (slang for crore Rupees) to them. But the very same regime has no funds for these drought-affected and debt-burdened peasants,” slammed Wadettiwar.
“After the loan waiver given by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government headed by ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray in 2019-2020, the farmers had got huge relief from their debts… Thereafter, only jumlas in the name of loan-waiver are being announced by the present government,” Tiwari said scathingly.
Incidentally, in February, some desperate onion farmers of Nashik had asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “permission to commit suicide” as they were not getting adequate remunerative prices for their crops.
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