People Open Their Hearts and Wallets for Pomegranate Farmer; He, in Turn, Helps Others
People across the country opened their hearts and wallets for Bandu Markad, who, in a fit of despair had destroyed his pomegranate stock after failing to get even Rs10 from traders. Moneylife published the story behind the gut-wrenching viral video and details of his bank account for people who offered to help. Over the past five days, support poured in from across India and the world. Over Rs1.79 lakh has been credited to his account, with credits ranging from Rs250 to Rs50,000 and one payment in US dollars.
 
Bandu was in despair over his water tanker bill and a real fear that failure to pay would lead to his farm being taken over by the water supplier for a year, or until the loan was repaid. Today, he has repaid this entire dues to the tanker supplier, but there is an even more heartening development out of the unusual help that poured in from those who read the story. He now plans to use the money to help other farmers in the village.
 
As we had reported, Bandu is not the only farmer to suffer acute distress due to water scarcity that has affected Nivdunge village in Pathardi taluka of Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra. Many other farmers are in equal distress. 
 
However, Moneylife Foundation could focus its effort on helping Bandu alone as a starting point, especially when we had no idea about what kind of response it would evoke from people. Bandu’s own family and friends were not expecting much. In fact, Sharad Markad, Pathardi taluka president of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, the largest union of farmers in Maharashtra, tells us that they were not really expecting more that Rs15,000-Rs20,000 as help for Bandu. 
 
 
Obviously, the fact that Bandu alone got a way out of his troubles would have led to a lot of heartburn. Sharad Markad then came up with an idea. He suggested that the additional funds available with Bandu in his account could be used for benefit of other farmers. Bandu readily agreed. 
 
Both Sharad and Bandu would now ensure that at least Rs50,000 to Rs60,000 would be used for supplying water through tankers among other, worst affected farmers whose crops are about to succumb to drought. "We will make sure only needy farmer gets the water from the tanker and then after all check and balances, Bandu will pay the bill from his bank account,” says Sharad Markad. 
 
 
Moneylife Foundation has been in touch with Nandakishor N Maske, the Madhi branch manager of Maharashtra Gramin Bank, where Bandu has his account to ensure that the money is properly credited and utilised. Mr Maske too has been extremely cooperative in guiding Bandu and others about the process. 
 
On 3 December 2018, Bandu had repaid all his debt to the water tanker supplier. In addition, he also paid next three months money in advance to Shubham Sable. This will ensure that all the plants in Bandu's farm will continue to receive adequate water for the next three months. Some money has been used to pay for fertiliser and  farming material for the coming pomegranate season.
 
 
The payment of Rs88,000 to the water tanker supplier through real time gross settlement (RTGS) was confirmed by the bank. 
 
 
What remains unpaid is his loan of Rs1.45 lakh from the credit society affiliated with Ahmednagar District Central Co-operative Bank. This is unfortunately the flip side of loan write-offs.  There is a great reluctance to repay that loan since all farmers are expecting farm loan waiver from the government, especially when an election is around the corner. Bandu is in a dilemma over whether to repay the debt right now or wait for some more time. Moneylife Foundation also feels that public money, being used to help other farmers in distress at this time, when the state had declared a drought, is a better utilisation of the money that was generously donated by people. 
 
As I described in previous article, Bandu has to repay his loan by March 2019 or pay an interest of Rs10,000 to Rs12,000 to the credit society. 
 
Last week, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told the state assembly that around 86 lakh hectares of land and 82 lakh farmers in 151 tehsils and 20 revenue circles have been affected by drought this year. This means around 60% of the farmers in the state are hit by drought. 
 
The announcement of drought would bring along some relief measures. For instance, land revenue will not be collected from farmers. The farmers from drought declared areas will get a subsidy of 33% on their electricity bill for agriculture pumps. They can get work under the employment guarantee scheme, while students from this area would get exemption from payment of school and college fees. Farmers will also get financial help, with the government likely to give Rs6,800 per hectare to those with non-irrigated farms and Rs13,000 per hectare to those with irrigated farms.
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COMMENTS

ramchandran vishwanathan

2 weeks ago

Excellent , kudos to Moneylife .

Rajendra Ganatra

2 weeks ago

Absolutely wonderful! Hats off to Moneylife! I am glad his act turned out genuine!

ch prakash

2 weeks ago

It is requested to popularise "Sri Subash Palekar's Zero Budget Natural Agriculture farming" among the farmers community. This will immensely help farmers and keep them away from any sorts of investments or debts for agriculture and less dependence on water. No amount of money is sufficient to help the farmers if they pursue the commercial farming be it paddy or sugarcane or cotton or horticulture. Just follow the track laid by Sri Subash Palekar and become Self Sufficient".

Hussain Kagzi

2 weeks ago

Great... by both MLF and the farmer. I really admire the work you guys are doing. Can MLF start a fund calling to raise money for this specific issue - to help farmers get back on their feet and empower them, so that they don't have to rely on government subsidies, etc and are not under any sort of pressure to grow a specific crop or sell at any price possible. They can in turn help others going ahead. One small village can be targeted at one time.

tanay

2 weeks ago

Great to learn that bandu decided to help other farmers as well

Deepak Ahuja

2 weeks ago

Super work done by moneylife.

Sunil

2 weeks ago

Brilliant work by Moneylife foundation. Gratifying to get the update

Kiran Mathew

2 weeks ago

Wasn't the narrative 4 years ago had been that if souchalayas mushroomed throughout, it would bail us out of fiscal poverty and cultural bondage?

Train 18 likely to be launched on Dec 25 between New Delhi-Varanasi, with increased fare
With the Train 18 speeding up to 180 kmph between Kota Junction and Kurlasi station during a trial on Sunday, efforts are on to launch the first indigenously-built Trainset on December 25 from New Delhi to Varanasi.
 
"Christmas Day also happens to be the birthday of late Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and it would be a tribute to the great statesman of the country if we manage to launch the next-generation train on that day," a senior Railways official told IANS.
 
Since the input cost of the Rs 100-crore train is high, the fare structure will be also be higher than the normal fare.
 
However, the official added that the decision on its launch date and fare are yet to be taken as the trial is not yet complete.
 
According to the tentative plan, the train will start from New Delhi station at 6 a.m., and is expected to reach Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's parliamentary constituency, at 2 p.m. 
 
For the return journey, the train will start at 2.30 p.m., from Varanasi and reach the national capital at 10.30 p.m.
 
It was a thrilling experience onboard Train 18 during the various trials on Sunday -- including a speed run on a straight track, speed test on one degree curve at 150 kmph, and two degree curve at 140 and 150 kmph -- on 113 km stretch from Kota to Kurlasi under the watchful eyes senior Railways officials as well as those from the national transporter's Research Design and Standards Organisation.
 
Ladoos were distributed in the train when it clocked 180 kmph. The first sweets were offered to loco pilot Padam Singh Gurjar and his assistant Onkar Yadav.
 
"We are quite excited to be part of this great occasion," Padam Singh told IANS after having the sweet. 
 
"I feel proud to be part of this historic trial," added Yadav.
 
It was a smooth ride for those inside -- occupying rotating seats to match the direction of the train - as the Train 18 became the first train to touch such high speeds on the Indian rail network.
 
The train started its trial run at 9.30 a.m., from Kota and returned to the junction at 6 p.m., after negotiating several rivers, bridges and curves.
 
The Trainset does not require a locomotive as it is a self-propelled on electric traction, like metro trains.
 
Now the Trainset has to undergo what is called a long confirmatory run and also test its emergency braking distance before it gets a clearance from the Commissioner, Railway Safety (CRS) for commercial operations to commence.
 
"We are expecting the trials to be over in a week and after that we will seek CRS clearance," said the official.
 
Although the speed touched 180 kmph during Sunday's trial run, the Train-18 will only be allowed to run at a maximum speed of 160 kmph in its commercial operations.
 
After the successful completion of 115 kmph test run on the Bareli-Moradabad section last week, the next-generation train -- indigenously developed at Chennai's Integral Coach Factory -- is required to undergo the 180 kmph trial run here till December 4.
 
Equipped with world class facilities, the Rs 100 crore Trainset aims to take passenger-comfort to a new level with onboard WiFi, a GPS-based information system, touch-free bio-vacuum toilets, LED lighting, mobile charging points, and a climate control system that adjusts the temperature according to occupancy and weather.
 
The 16-coach train will have two executive compartments with 52 seats each, and trailer coaches will have 78 seats each.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

Mohan Krishnan

2 weeks ago

Assembled in India?

Maharashtra proposes 16% quotas for Marathas
The Maharashtra government has proposed to give 16 per cent reservations to the politically influential Maratha community under a new Social and Economically Backward Class category here on Thursday.
 
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tabled the Action Taken Report (ATR) on the recommendations of the State Backward Class Commission on the long-pending demand of the Marathas.
 
Fadnavis also tabled the Bill based on the ATR recommendations to provide for quotas in educational institutions and in government jobs, before both Houses of the legislature.
 
However, the report on quotas for the Dhangar community is yet to be completed for which a sub-committee has been appointed and its ATR would be tabled in the legislature soon, he added.
 
Leaders of different political parties greeted the developments as "a historic day for the Marathas" who comprise nearly 30 percent of the state's population.
 
Since the Maratha reservations come under a new SEBC category, they will not affect the existing quotas for Scheduled Castes, Schedules Tribes and Other Backward Classes (SC/ST/OBCs).
 
The ATR says that the Marathas comprise a socially and economically backward class who are without adequate reservations in education and government jobs.
 
Accordingly, they are entitled to the quota benefits enshrined in the Articles 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution and the government could initiate suitable measures to address the issues.
 
The previous Congress-Nationalist Congress Party had also made a similar 16 percent quota proposal but it was stayed by the Bombay High Court.
 
The Marathas have been organising massive silent protests all over the state for nearly two years, including agitations in July-August this year which became violent.
 
Thursday's development comes ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 

 

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