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Archive for the ‘KARNATAKA’ Category

Of luxury cars and lowly tractors

Posted by ajadhind on December 29, 2010

P. Sainath
Even as the media celebrate the Mercedes Benz deal in the Marathwada region as a sign of “rural resurgence,” the latest data show that 17,368 farmers killed themselves in the year of the “resurgence.”
When businessmen from Aurangabad in the backward Marathwada region bought 150 Mercedes Benz luxury cars worth Rs. 65 crore at one go in October, it grabbed media attention. The top public sector bank, State Bank of India, offered the buyers loans of over Rs. 40 crore. “This,” says Devidas Tulzapurkar, president of the Aurangabad district bank employees association, “at an interest rate of 7 per cent.” A top SBI official said the bank was “proud to be part of this deal,” and would “continue to scout for similar deals in the future.”
The value of the Mercedes deal equals the annual income of tens of thousands of rural Marathwada households. And countless farmers in Maharashtra struggle to get any loans from formal sources of credit. It took roughly a decade and tens of thousands of suicides before Indian farmers got loans at 7 per cent interest — many, in theory only. Prior to 2005, those who got any bank loans at all shelled out between 9 and 12 per cent. Several were forced to take non-agricultural loans at even higher rates of interest. Buy a Mercedes, pay 7 per cent interest. Buy a tractor, pay 12 per cent. The hallowed micro-finance institutions (MFIs) do worse. There, it’s smaller sums at interest rates of between 24 and 36 per cent or higher.
Starved of credit, peasants turned to moneylenders and other informal sources. Within 10 years from 1991, the number of Indian farm households in debt almost doubled from 26 per cent to 48.6 per cent. A crazy underestimate but an official number. Many policy-driven disasters hit farmers at the same time. Exploding input costs in the name of ‘market-based prices.’ Crashing prices for their commercial crops, often rigged by powerful traders and corporations. Slashing of investment in agriculture. A credit squeeze as banks moved away from farm loans to fuelling upper middle class lifestyles. Within the many factors driving over two lakh farmers to suicide in 13 years, indebtedness and the credit squeeze rank high. (And MFIs are now among the squeezers).
What remained of farm credit was hijacked. A devastating piece in The Hindu (Aug. 13) showed us how. Almost half the total “agricultural credit” in the State of Maharashtra in 2008 was disbursed not by rural banks but by urban and metro branches. Over 42 per cent of it in just Mumbai — stomping ground of large corporations rather than of small farmers.
Even as the media celebrate our greatest car deal ever as a sign of “rural resurgence,” the subject of many media stories, comes the latest data of the National Crime Records Bureau. These show a sharp increase in farm suicides in 2009 with at least 17,368 farmers killing themselves in the year of “rural resurgence.” That’s over 7 per cent higher than in 2008 and the worst numbers since 2004. This brings the total farm suicides since 1997 to 216,500. While all suicides have multiple causes, their strong concentration within regions and among cash crop farmers is an alarming and dismal trend.
The NCRB, a wing of the Union Home Ministry, has been tracking farm suicide data since 1995. However, researchers mostly use their data from 1997 onwards. This is because the 1995 and 1996 data are incomplete. The system was new in 1995 and some big States such as Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan sent in no numbers at all that year. (In 2009, the two together saw over 1,900 farm suicides). By 1997, all States were reporting and the data are more complete.
The NCRB data end at 2009 for now. But we can assume that 2010 has seen at least 16,000 farmers’ suicides. (After all, the yearly average for the last six years is 17,104). Add this 16,000 to the total 2,16,500. Also add the incomplete 1995 and 1996 numbers — that is 24,449 suicides. This brings the 1995-2010 total to 2,56,949. Reflect on this figure a moment.
It means over a quarter of a million Indian farmers have committed suicide since 1995. It means the largest wave of recorded suicides in human history has occurred in this country in the past 16 years. It means one-and-a-half million human beings, family members of those killing themselves, have been tormented by the tragedy. While millions more face the very problems that drove so many to suicide. It means farmers in thousands of villages have seen their neighbours take this incredibly sad way out. A way out that more and more will consider as despair grows and policies don’t change. It means the heartlessness of the Indian elite is impossible to imagine, leave alone measure.
Note that these numbers are gross underestimates to begin with. Several large groups of farmers are mostly excluded from local counts. Women, for instance. Social and other prejudice means that, most times, a woman farmer killing herself is counted as suicide — not as a farmer’s suicide. Because the land is rarely in a woman’s name.
Then there is the plain fraud that some governments resort to. Maharashtra being the classic example. The government here has lied so many times that it contradicts itself thrice within a week. In May this year, for instance, three ‘official’ estimates of farm suicides in the worst-hit Vidarbha region varied by 5,500 per cent. The lowest count being just six in four months (See “How to be an eligible suicide,” The Hindu, May 13, 2010).
The NCRB figure for Maharashtra as a whole in 2009 is 2,872 farmers’ suicides. So it remains the worst State for farm suicides for the tenth year running. The ‘decline’ of 930 that this figure represents would be joyous if true. But no State has worked harder to falsify reality. For 13 years, the State has seen a nearly unrelenting rise. Suddenly, there’s a drop of 436 and 930 in 2008 and 2009. How? For almost four years now, committees have functioned in Vidarbha’s crisis districts to dismiss most suicides as ‘non-genuine.’ What is truly frightening is the Maharashtra government’s notion that fixing the numbers fixes the problem.
Yet that problem is mounting. Perhaps the State most comparable to Maharashtra in terms of population is West Bengal. Though its population is less by a few million, it has more farmers. Both States have data for 15 years since 1995. Their farm suicide annual averages in three-five year periods starting then are revealing. Maharashtra’s annual average goes up in each period. From 1,963 in the five years ending with 1999 to 3,647 by 2004. And scaling 3,858 by 2009. West Bengal’s yearly average registers a gradual drop in each five-year period. From 1,454 in 1999 to 1,200 in 2004 to 1,014 by 2009. While it has more farmers, its farm suicide average for the past five years is less than a third of Maharashtra’s. The latter’s yearly average has almost doubled since 1999.
The share of the Big 5 ‘suicide belt’ States — Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh — remains close to two-thirds of all farm suicides. Sadly 18 of 28 States reported higher farm suicide numbers in 2009. In some the rise was negligible. In others, not. Tamil Nadu showed the biggest increase of all States, going from 512 in 2008 to 1060 in 2009. Karnataka clocked in second with a rise of 545. And Andhra Pradesh saw the third biggest rise — 309 more than in 2008. A few though did see a decline of some consequence in their farm suicide annual average figures for the last six years. Three — Karnataka, Kerala and West Bengal — saw their yearly average fall by over 350 in 2004-09 compared to the earlier seven years.
Things will get worse if existing policies on agriculture don’t change. Even States that have managed some decline across 13 years will be battered. Kerala, for instance, saw an annual average of 1,371 farm suicides between 1997 and 2003. From 2004-09, its annual average was 1016 — a drop of 355. Yet Kerala will suffer greatly in the near future. Its economy is the most globalised of any State. Most crops are cash crops. Any volatility in the global prices of coffee, pepper, tea, vanilla, cardamom or rubber will affect the State. Those prices are also hugely controlled at the global level by a few corporations.
Already bludgeoned by the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), Kerala now has to contend with the one we’ve gotten into with ASEAN. And an FTA with the European Union is also in the offing. Kerala will pay the price. Even prior to 2004, the dumping of the so-called “Sri Lankan pepper” (mostly pepper from other countries brought in through Sri Lanka) ravaged the State. Now, we’ve created institutional frameworks for such dumping. Economist Professor K. Nagaraj, author of the biggest study of farm suicides in India, says: “The latest data show us that the agrarian crisis has not relented, not gone away.” The policies driving it have also not gone away.
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17,368 farm suicides in 2009

Posted by ajadhind on December 29, 2010

source – hindu

MUMBAI: At least 17,368 Indian farmers killed themselves in 2009, the worst figure for farm suicides in six years, according to data of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). This is an increase of 1,172 over the 2008 count of 16,196. It brings the total farm suicides since 1997 to 2,16,500. The share of the Big 5 States, or ‘suicide belt’ — Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh — in 2009 remained very high at 10,765, or around 62 per cent of the total, though falling nearly five percentage points from 2008. Maharashtra remained the worst State for farm suicides for the tenth successive year, reporting 2,872. Though that is a fall of 930, it is still 590 more than in Karnataka, second worst, which logged 2,282 farm suicides.
Economist K. Nagaraj, author of the biggest study on Indian farm suicides, says, “That these numbers are rising even as the farmer population shrinks, confirms the agrarian crisis is still burning.”
Maharashtra has logged 44,276 farm suicides since 1997, over a fifth of the total 2,16,500. Within the Big 5, Karnataka saw the highest increase of 545 in 2009. Andhra Pradesh recorded 2,414 farm suicides — 309 more than in 2008. Madhya Pradesh (1,395) and Chhattisgarh (1,802) saw smaller increases of 16 and 29. Outside the Big 5, Tamil Nadu doubled its tally with 1,060, against 512 in 2008. In all, 18 of 28 States reported higher farm suicide numbers in 2009. Some, like Jammu and Kashmir or Uttarakhand, saw a negligible rise. Rajasthan, Kerala and Jharkhand saw increases of 55, 76 and 93. Assam and West Bengal saw higher rises of 144 and 295. NCRB farm data now exist for 13 years. In the first seven, 1997-2003, there were 1,13,872 farm suicides, an average of 16,267 a year. In the next six years 1,02,628 farmers took their lives at an average of 17,105 a year. This means, on average, around 47 farmers — or almost one every 30 minutes — killed themselves each day between 2004 and 2009.
Lower their average
Among the major States, only a few including Karnataka, Kerala and West Bengal avoided the sharp rise these six years and lowered their average by over 350 compared to the 1997-2003 period. In the same period, the annual average of farm suicides in the Big 5 States as a whole was more than 1,650 higher than it was in 1997-2003.

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Pardon us.

Posted by ajadhind on October 12, 2010

To,
Dear Prime Minister and dearest Home Minister,

We are extremely sorry for not accepting the democratic model of the country. Kindly forgive us for not accepting your model of democracy ( which is represented by the images below) you have offered as an alternative to the armed revolution.

Yours faithfully,
“Misguided Youth”

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‘Injustice breeds Naxalism’ – Justice S R Nayak

Posted by ajadhind on October 12, 2010

source – deccan chronicle

Bengaluru, Oct. 9: Maoist outfits are gaining roots in some places in the state and in the country because people in these places have been denied social justice, said Justice S.R. Nayak, chairman, Karnataka State Human Rights Commission.

While addressing students of Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media on the topic, ‘Violations of human rights by police,’ Justice Nayak said citizens who live in Naxal prone areas extend their support as they feel Naxalites are more humane compared to state authorities.“Nowhere in the world have ultras like Naxals been won over by the use of force or by killing them mercilessly,” he said.

He highlighted the classic case of slain forest brigand Veerappan, who was protected by the villagers themselves by misleading the police force as most of them were denied social justice. Justice Nayak also called for 50 per cent reservation for women in Parliament, stating that they had been denied the right to represent the electorate.

“Around 95 per cent of crimes committed against women and children don’t get reported. There have been instances of women who dare to speak out, getting raped and tortured in the police station itself,” he said. He listed some of the illegal acts committed by the police including their refusal to register crimes, illegal arrests, custodial torture and extrajudicial killings. Explaining the psyche of the police involved in such atrocities, he said: “There are policemen who feel that the only way to get the truth out of the accused is to torture them. Sometimes, the police don’t register a case because of increased workload and sometimes under political pressure.”

“There are policemen who take bribes to register a case,” he said.

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Battle won or lost?

Posted by ajadhind on July 24, 2010

recieved via mail

Ajay

Gulbarga

The land acquisition for thermal power plane has been succeeded by gulbarga administration in honnakiranagi, firozabad and nadisinnur.

Farmers who protested for months have agreed to give there lands. In a public hearing on july 23 to discuss the environmental consequences of the project compensation cheques has been given to 3 farmers. Farmers will get 9 lak/acre. One of the loser recieved a cheque worth 1 crore.

The increase in compensation, arrest of S.K.Kanta with regard to gulbarga pourakaarmika’s struggle, threat by the administration- all these factors has led to the withdrawal of protests by the farmers.

In the meeting farmers were more eager about the compensation, future of their children, jobs. Discussion about the environmental effects was least.

Who has won or lost this battle? Farmers? The state? Leaders? Or the hungry people of nation? Noone can deny the fact that electricity is one of the major requirement for the progress of the nation. Though we need electricity at a large amount there remains
some unanswered questions-

> Studies on environment has shown that thermal plant in raichur has increased the temperature of that area in addition to causing pollution by ash. The peak temperature in and around gulbarga at present is 45-47 in summer. What effects the new
thermal plant will have on this?

>Raichur power plant supplies more than 40% of power requirement of state, but it rarely works to its full strength. Technical problems, shortage of charcoal, wet charcoal are the reasons cited. What is the hurry to create new power plant when making raichur plant functionally effective will solve most of the power crisis?

> experts say that decreasing the loss of electricity during transmission by 20 to 30%
will solve the power deficiency. But no efforts in this regard.

> If we go around cities we can see a large amount of power being wasted just for advertisement boards. Until we are power sufficient can’t we ban using electricity for ad boards? I am sure that it can be used to lighten up thousands of villages.

> and finally – farmers got money, govt got lands, probably its officers will get commission, we got electricity. But what about food security for coming generation and
also for people of this generation who can’t afford the rising prices. Dal reaches 100rs per kg and we are happy acquiring thousands of acres where dal was grown as a major crop for thermal power plant.

LONG LIVE ” DEMOCRATIC” INDIA!!

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Protesting Dalits smear themselves with human excreta

Posted by ajadhind on July 21, 2010

by Deccan Herald

A basic right, taken for granted with no second thoughts for many, is a struggle for the Bhangi community in Savanur. The community members went as far as pouring human excreta over themselves, so that their voices are heard and as a sign of protest against those trying to evict them from their homes.ReasonFor the past 70 years, four families of the Bhangi community, who work as night soil workers, have been living in huts built on land belonging to the Savanur Town Municipal Council (TMC).At a meeting some time ago, the TMC decided to evict the families and build a commercial complex in its place. Ever since, the TMC has employed various devious ways to force the families out of their homes.Starting with an oral directive, the TMC has resorted to cutting water connection to the families, dumping waste in front of their homes, barging into their homes, insulting their women and threatening them.The community members, who are treated as the lowest among the dalits, submitted an appeal to the sub-divisional officer in January against their eviction and have ever since submitted numerous appeals to the government over the past seven months.Finding no sympathisers in the system for their cause, the community members finally resorted to this extreme form of protest on Tuesday.The families submitted an appeal to the Assistant Commissioner on Monday demanding temporary water connection. But they were asked to pay the TMC Rs 2,000 for each connection.Helpless, the community members took out a mock funeral from their homes in Kamala Bangadi to the TMC on Tuesday. At the TMC, three members of the community poured human excreta over themselves and begged for water to clean themselves.Officials apathyAs if this was not heart-wrenching enough, none of the officials at the Town Municipal Council came forward to receive their appeal.A verbal duel ensued between TMC officials and Dalit Sangarsha Samithi activists. TMC Executive Officer H N Bajakkanavar defended the TMC, saying they never tried to evict the Bhangis, but added that TMC would provide houses for them under various housing schemes.He also said only illegal water connections were cut off. However, the DSS pointed out that several illegal water connections in the town were untouched and only those feeding Bhangis were cut off. “This is harassment against a community that is still treated like untouchables,” they said.When no official accepted the appeal from the Bhangis, the latter cleaned the toilets in the TMC premises.They then went to the Revenue Department and submitted their appeal to Tahsildar Prashanth Nalavar.

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Naxal Movement In Karnataka

Posted by ajadhind on June 28, 2010

It is often said these days that the Naxal movement in karnataka has reached its end. The main reason cited is the arrest of two top maoist leaders Nandakumar and Chandru Gorabal. Former was thought to be relieved from Karnataka duty and posted to other state. The latter as per police statements was a Member of South Zone committee and also a member of central committee. Will the arrest of these two top leaders will end the maoist movement in karnataka?
Ofcourse it should be accepted that arrest of many cadres is  certainly a set back for the movement. At present the movement is facing difficulties because of small number of full time party workers. But this is not the end of the movement. Though for few days there will be decreased armed movement and the parties aim should be in organising the mass movements for which the conditions in the state and pattern of ruling by the government are perfect.
One should remember that the armed movement is a part of the naxal revolution and it is not the only way. The people of Karnataka has seen the success of Naxals though smal, in the agrarian movement in which they were actively involved. It was because of Naxals the conditions in the Malnad was improved a bit. People have seen that democratic people movements are being crushed by the government. Recent example is of S.K. Kantha who was fighting against the land acquisition near Gulbarga for thermal power plant. He was also leading the struggle of Poura Kaarmika’s. He was arrested regarding the latter struggle and was also granted bail recently, but the government arrested him with a fear that the land acquisition may become difficult if he is out. Now the government forcefully made the farmers to accept its conditions, if they fail they will get least compensation.
When more land is being marked for all MNC’s who will develop Karnataka, the people who have seen the democratic movements getting crushed from the government with an iron hand will join and lead the movement with naxal ideology.

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Change the system by being a part of the system?

Posted by ajadhind on June 24, 2010

It is often said that you should be a part of the system to change or to better the system. But this report will speak. I think there is no need for much comments from our side.
Staff Reporter, hindu
BANGALORE: Karnataka Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde resigned from the post on Wednesday in “disgust” against the “non-cooperation” by the State Government in his crusade against corruption.
Mr. Hegde met Governor H.R. Bhardwaj and handed over his resignation, which will come into effect on August 31, 2010, at the Raj Bhavan on Wednesday evening.
Explaining the reasons for staying on till August 31, the Lokayukta said he had to complete unfinished work, including submitting a report on THE wall collapse that killed a teenager. Moreover, with the Upalokayukta’s post still vacant, his resignation would render the institution of Lokayukta a nonentity. He hoped that the Government would fill the vacancy by then.
Mr. Hegde’s resignation, which is apparently the first time in the country that a Lokayukta has quit after blaming the Government for its failure to prevent corruption in public administration, comes on the eve of the second anniversary celebrations planned by the Yeddyurappa Government.
Mr. Hegde took over as Lokayukta on August 3, 2006, and his term was to end in 2011.
Addressing a press conference, Mr. Hegde cited three reasons for his resignation: non-appointment of the Upalokayukta for the past six months because of which thousands of complaints had piled up; reinstating officers suspended following the Lokayukta’s recommendation to the same post after a few months; and a recent recommendation made to the Chief Secretary by a Minister to suspend the Deputy Conservator of Forests, Karwar, who, on the directions of the Lokayukta, had seized eight lakh tonnes of iron ore illegally transported to Belekeri port.
Mr. Hegde said the official who had carried out a commendable investigation of the illegal transport of iron ore to the Belekeri port had brought to Lokayukta’s notice the Minister’s recommendation and sought his help. “‘But I told him that I can only provide legal advice if he is suspended.”
“I do not know whether the Government has suspended the officer. But this is not the way a Minister should act. Officers will lose their morale if Ministers behave in such a fashion. I thought over all these developments that happened over the past couple of months and decided that I should not continue in the post if I am unable to protect an officer who discharges his duty on my instructions, and also when I am not in a position to perform, not because of my inability but due to non-cooperation by the Government,” he said.
Officials shocked
The resignation of Mr. Hegde came as a shock to many in the institution. “I was shocked to hear the news,” said the former Upalokayukta N. Patri Basavanagoud.
Earlier, Mr. Hegde had a meeting with the Lokayukta personnel and made his intentions clear. “They were really heartbroken. They asked me to reconsider my decision and not to leave them in the lurch,” Mr. Hegde said. “But I explained to them that the institution’s integrity would be lost if I continued to function in such a situation.”

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Global Investors Meet In Bangalore

Posted by ajadhind on June 5, 2010

Todays paper had a lot of turns and comedy sequences. First page told
that 4 lak crore is being invested in k’taka 9lak jobs!, cm in full
suite.next page an ad by BBMP about environment
white. Next page murugesh nirani’s statement that 1lak acres of land
is needed for industries. And last but not the least the reality bite
which informs us that the prices of DAL has further rocketed.so
finally we will have iron,steel,computer,cement to eat and electricity
to drink. Jai ho.

Posted in FROM MY PEN, IN NEWS, KARNATAKA | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

Suspected naxal Nandakumar arrested

Posted by ajadhind on June 2, 2010

Source – hindu

SHIMOGA: N. Nandakumar, alias Rangappa (38), suspected to have been involved in naxal activity in the border villages of Raichur taluk in the 1990s and who later was active in the Western Ghats region, has been arrested, the Shimoga Police announced on Tuesday.

He was nabbed by the Hyderabad Police when he was allegedly attempting to meet naxal leaders in the Andhra capital, and then handed over to the Shimoga Police. He was taken into custody by a team led by Shimoga Deputy Superintendent of Police Shekharappa which went to Hyderabad last week. He is likely to be produced before the court in a day or two. The police claim to have extracted crucial information from him in connection with naxal activities in the State.

Nandakumar is said to have married Asha, who was among the four persons arrested last year somewhere on the Andhra Pradesh border. He had taken an active role in the fighting eviction of forest dwellers in the Kudremukh National Park in Chikmagalur. He was wanted by the Sadar Bazar Police in Raichur in connection with the murder of Siddangouda in 1997 and a stone-throwing incident during the inauguration of a police station at Yapaldinni village of naxal-prone border areas of Raichur taluk.

After the death of Bhaskar, a naxal leader from Srikakulam in an encounter in 1987, Nandakumar is said to have shifted his activities to the Western Ghats.

His name figures in the list of the most wanted naxalites

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