//Farmers put village for sale: Rs 50 cr

Farmers put village for sale: Rs 50 cr

Village up for grabs at Rs 50 cr

Prashant Koratkar, CNN-IBN Updated 1513 hrs IST (+GMT 5:30), 19.02.06

Nagpur: Forced by extreme poverty and growing debts, farmers of a village in Maharashtra have put up their village for sale – for Rs 50 crore.

Farmers of Dorli village in Wardha district say the government’s apathy and a number of debt-related suicides has forced them to take this extreme decision. Banners reading, ‘This village is up for sale’, can be seen across the village and farmers are putting up most of their belongings for sale – cattle, carts, houses and more.

"Since the government cannot help us, we have decided to sell all our belongings," says Sudhakar Chavan, a villager.

Villagers of Dorli, however, are not the first ones to have taken the drastic step. Following rural despair, six villages in the agricultural stronghold of Punjab are already up for sale: Bhutal Kalan and Bhutal Khor in Sangrur district; Malsinghwala in Mansa district; and Harkishanpura, Mandikhurd, and Ramanwas in Bhatinda district.

The government officials, however, claim that they have been taking the necessary steps to look into the villagers’ problems.

"The work is going on according to plan. We can’t take action on the basis of figures," says Chief Secretary Prem Kumar.

But with a latest National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) data revealing that more than 40 per cent of the farmers are keen on quitting agriculture, all that the government seems to be offering the distraught villagers is reassurance.

The Centre is also trying to contain the rural crisis that is forcing the farmers to take extreme steps. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced that the "New Deal for Rural India" is to be launced soon.

Even as the Government announces measures to contain farmer suicides and villages being put up for sale,the farmers across the country continue to experience complete helplessness in dealing with the situation.

(With Anumeha Chaturvedi)