What else can be done for farmers? SC to Petitioner

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New Delhi, Sep 22 (UNI) The Centre today informed the Supreme Court that it was doing everything to improve the lot of farmers to check the increasing incidents of suicides by agriculturists across the country.

Petitioner Sanjeev Bhatnagar submitted before a bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal that the states of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala have not responded to the show cause notice issued by this court and it is pitiable that the state governments are not taking such an important issue seriously.

Mr Bhatnagar, an advocate, also alleged that there has been huge misappropriation of funds released by the government under various welfare schemes launched for the farmers and the funds are not reaching their destination.

He also contended that crop failure, floods, money lenders, and the current large-scale land acquisition of their lands for SEZs are forcing helpless farmers to the extreme step of taking their own lives.

According to him, about 17,000 farmers have committed suicide across the country till now.

He also cited the affidavit of Maharashtra government, alleging that the PMO did'' not help us and therefore the situation in Vidarbha region of the state deterioated.'' The Chief Justice, after going through the counter affidavit of the Union Government, asked the petitioner ,'' what else can be done? The government is doing everything possible to ameliorate the hardship of the farmers in the country and a number of welfare schemes have been introduced and loans of farmers to the tune of Rs 60,000 crores have been waived off.'' The apex court adjourned the hearing and directed the states of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala to file their counter and permitted the petitioner to file his rejoinder affidavit.


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