Thursday, June 26, 2008

Karnataka: Farmers' suicide for want of fertilisers

IF FARMERS commit suicide, it is no longer news in India – definitely not in states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. But in Karnataka, of late a new trend has emerged on this front. A farmer has committed suicide because he was not able to procure chemical fertilisers for sowing operations. The BJP has blamed the central government for the tragedy. It has rejected the charge levelled against it by the opposition, viz., the Congress and the JD(S).
The Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa (BSY) said in the assembly that had the centre honoured its assurance of supplying fertilizers, the state would not have witnessed the crisis, prompting farmers to take to the streets. If the Centre failed to rush stocks, the situation might worsen and the entire responsibility should be owned by the centre. He reeled off figures to substantiate his argument that what the centre supplied was much less than the promised allocation. For example, only 59 per cent of the state’s requirement of DAP (di ammonium phosphate) had been honoured. Inadequate allocation apart, the authorities failed to stock up on chemical fertilisers during Governor’s rule.
It is not fair on the part of BSY to blame the Governor alone for the lapse. As a matter of fact, all the major political parties should take the blame for the lapse. These parties knew that Governor’s rule was a stop-gap arrangement and the new government would assume charge around the time the monsoon was due. Being a farmer himself, BSY knew this better than the booted and suited bureaucrats who ruled the state on behalf of the Governor.
Deve Gowda, who never tires of reiterating that he is a humble farmer, should have anticipated this. The state’s Congress leaders who claim to understand the needs of agriculture and industry also should have anticipated this. But the question is why they did not? The answer is simple: these political parties
had more precious things to do, viz., capturing power. They saw no sense in bothering about the farmers’ plight particularly when they were not in पॉवर

The party that assumed power after the elections had at least a clear fortnight ahead of it to arrange supply of chemical fertilisers and quality seeds to farmers. Then why did the BJP fail to act? It was busy quenching the thirst of its leaders for power and surely their thirst had to be slaked first. Why the opposition, comprised of the Congress and the JD(S) failed to sensitise the ruling party to this requirement? They could not care less – after all, they were out of power!

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