In Poll-bound Gujarat, Farmers Are Denied Payout for Failed Crops
“We can’t fill our bellies with these fake promises.”
Urban Gujarat is eagerly waiting for the Assembly Elections, due in December. But what about voters in rural areas? The Quint travelled to the village of Rampur, 40km away from Amreli, to find out.
In Rampur, Walji Bhai Ghevariya, a farmer, committed suicide last year. Walji took his life after his cotton crop failed, leaving him unable to pay back the loan he had taken from the bank.
“Govt Doesn’t Help”
Walji Bhai's son, Muthur, said his father was worried that his crops this year were destroyed.
“My father committed suicide because we lost our whole cultivation. Debts were high, and we could not pay them. The government did not come forward for any sort of aid,” Muthur alleges.
In 2016, the central government introduced the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna, but the farmers claim it has not benefited them at all.
“We got nothing from the insurance. The government never answers us. We fill insurance for Rs 12 and Rs 330, but whenever we ask for the same, they disapprove it,” Muthur says.
The head of the village, Pratap Bhai Ramuk Bhai, complains that even if the crops grow properly, the farmers don’t get the right price for it.
“Govt Only Makes False Promises”
In Saurashtra region, where cotton and peanut is widely grown, the Gujarat government has fixed the rate for 1 quintal of peanut at Rs 4,500. However, farmers say this is just a farce. Lalbhai Bodar, a peanut farmer, says: “The government promised that they will at least buy it for Rs 900 (per 20 kg). But if there is less than 35 kg in the sack, we don’t get Rs 900. The government is just doing injustice to farmers. We can't fill our bellies with these fake promises.”
Like Bodar, other farmers in Saurashtra say they are unhappy with the BJP government. However, they aren’t entirely willing to talk about who they will vote this assembly election.
Another farmer, Purushottam Bhai, says he’s disappointed with both political parties. “This election, we are not relying on anybody. But we have to cast our vote. After going to the vote booth, we will do what our heart and mind says at the final hour. We are fed up with fake commitments.”
Video Producer: Chandan Kashyap
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
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