Skip to main content

Demonetization: Gujarat farmers "reveal" how they are suffering, yet say they are scared to talk about it

By Pankti Jog*
Ben majoor manasoni daya nathi avti sarkarne” (sister, government does not even pity for these daily labourers). A farmer from Surendranagar district of Gujarat told me on our Right to Information (RTI) helpline number, 9924085000. He continued telling me about the status of agricultural workers in the area.
Farmers pay them Rs 100 to Rs 140 as wages plus tea, and Rs 20 for gutkha for 5 hours of work. However, for the last 15 days, no one is calling them for work. Wage rates have fallen down to Rs 60 for 5 hours. Agricultural laborers in around 28 villages of Kharagodha of Patadi area in the district are now ready to go for work at the cost of their daily food.
When farmers tell agricultural workers that they can’t be engage due to shortage of cash, many of these labourers say, “No problem, give us food”. Agricultural labourers from many of the villages are making their daily living by having bajra rotla and chutney as they can’t afford anything beyond this. Farmers are getting concerned over the status of agricultural labourers, who have begun dialling RTI helpline for rescue and guidance.
Many of the farmers have chosen to cultivate only 60% of their land due to cash crisis. “Once we sow seeds, we require money to be given to labourers, for buying fertilizers and pesticides, and for using tractors. Banks in our areas do not have any cash. We can’t let our crop die, hence we chose to sow only 60% of the land and leave 40% as fallow”, said a farmer on RTI helpline.
“As large amount of land will be fallow in this area, demand for agriculture labour will be go down throughout the season. This is not going to settle in 50 days”, added another farmer.
Pankti Jog
Another type of issue came up with bhagiya share croppers. Farmers gave them advance in the same week when the government declared ‘notebandhi’ (demonetization).
“I had Rs 20,000 saved from the rainy season crop, and as I was to continue with the same farmer from whom I received Rs 70,000 towards advance for the jeeru crop. On the next day, however, I had to put all of Rs 90,000 in my account, which will now be considered as my ‘income’,”, complained a sharecropper.
“And I am not been able to withdraw money. My jeeru season is gone, as I need cash now to sow, to buy fertilizer and pesticides”, the share cropper, who belongs to Santalpur block of Patan district, said, narrating his plight over the helpline.
Another caller, who is a famer from Amreli district, had asked four agricultural labourers' families from far away Jhabhua to help him on his far. He said, he was standing in queue throughout the day to get Rs 4,000 after three days. He was supposed to pay Rs 10,000 per family as advance once they reached his farm. Sounding tense, he wondered whether his name would be spoiled if he did not pay pay them on time.
“Why don’t you raise this issue?”, I asked each of the callers. Not one among hundreds of callers wished to share their names in public. “Please do not take our names”, was the cryptic reply. Most of them requested: “We don’t want to be looked like talking against the government”.
People across rural Gujarat are suffering because of demonetization, but are scared to talk about it.
---
*Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel, Ahmedabad

Comments

TRENDING

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Recalling Jallianwala martyrs' communal amity as BJP 'warns' of Sitalkuchi everywhere

By Shamsul Islam*  The RSS-BJP rulers declare India to be a battle-ground between Hinduism and Islam. Muslims have been declared as ‘internal threat’ by RSS ideologue MS Golwalkar (“Bunch of Thought”, Chapter xvi). Behaviour of many of their leading cadres, including those who hold high constitutional posts, is such that they seem to be conspiring over-time to ignite a civil war between the two communities. They are under the impression that this would help divert attention from failures of the Hindutva rulers on developmental front.