Debt-ridden farmers threaten to grow marijuana
NAGPUR: After a series of suicides by debt-ridden farmers in Maharashtra, those in Vidarbha region are making unique demands to the authorities to draw the government's attention to their plight, sources said.
While some farmers have mortgaged the entire village, others are trying to sell off their kidneys or seeking permission to cultivate marijuana to repay debts and run their families in view of heavy losses due to crop failure.
Farmers from Naigaon in Dhamangaon taluka of Amravati district were seeking licences for cultivating Marijuna and running illicit liquor dens to cover their agricultural production cost, according to sources.
The ‘gram sabha’ (village council) moved a resolution recently, seeking licence from the authorities for these two `options'. Also demanding a cotton price of Rs 5000 per quintal, besides better prices for soya and tur dal (pulses), they have set a deadline of one month for the authorities to fulfil them.
They have threatened to commit mass suicide or indulge in open cultivation of ganja (marijuana) or start illicit liquor trade.
Village Sarpanch Sunanda Pachore and her deputy Sunil Shisode have sent a memorandum to the authorities in this regard.
Giving a detailed profile of the village, they said it has 121 farmers, owning about 652 acres of land for farming. They have taken a crop-loan of Rs.5.11 lakh from Land Development Bank, Rs.11.83 lakh loan from District Central Co-operative Bank, Rs.2.56 lakh from State Bank of India and Rs.30 lakh from private money lenders.