- A farmer from Nashik got Rs 1064 for selling 750 kg of onions.
- He had to sell his produce at a rate of Rs 1.40 per kg.
- In protest, he sent his earnings to PM Modi via money order.
- In Niphad alone, three farmers had committed suicide since August due to stress related to agriculture.
Sanjay Sathe, an onion-grower of Niphad Tehsil in Nashik district, sent a money order of Rs 1064 to Prime Minister of India, the money he earned from selling 750 kg of onion. The money order was sent on November 29 from the Niphad office of India Post. It was addressed to “Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India”.
Governments apathy towards the agrarian distress of farmers prompted him to do this in protest. He claims that he has no affiliation towards any political party. He only intended to express his pain in the dire situation of farmers.
Since last month, farmers are getting only Rs 1 per kg as a rate for onions. By and large, Indian farmers are not able to generate the expenditures spent on producing, due to drought and unfriendly policies.
According to Sanjay Sathe, “It was painful to see such paltry returns on four months of toil. Hence, I have donated Rs.1,064 to the Disaster Relief Fund of the PMO as a protest. I had to pay an additional Rs. 54 for sending it by money order.”
No stranger to fame
Interestingly, he was one of the ‘progressive farmers’ who met the erstwhile President of the United States, Barrack Obama, in 2010. For a long time, he had been using a voice-based advisory service set up for farmers for gathering information on weather changes. According to Sathe, this has helped him to considerably improve his production.
He had also been invited to speak about his agricultural experiments on local radio stations of AIR. So, the Ministry of Agriculture selected him to set up a stall at St Xavier’s College in Mumbai when Obama visited it. He spoke with the president for a couple of minutes with the help of an interpreter.
Incidentally, this happened in the wake of farmers march, which was held on November 29 and 30.
Thousands of farmers marched in protest from Ramlila Maidan to Parliament Street. Farmers, who came from all across India, united under the banner of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, were demanding loan waiver and the implementation of Swaminathan Committee Report.
Several experts maintain that the farmers’ protest will adversely affect Prime Minister Modi and the ruling party. Their silence may cost them the upcoming elections.