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Church to fight for Indian farmers

Vows to ensure they receive aid after severe crop failures

Government officials visit farms to assess crop loss Government officials visit farms to assess crop loss
  • ucanews.com reporter, Bhopal
  • India
  • January 26, 2011
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The Church in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is supporting protests against alleged corruption in the distribution of government aid to desperate farmers whose crops have failed.

“We will use our social network and available resources to ensure real victims benefit from the government’s relief package,” Father Mathew Vattakuzhy, who directs the Church’s social work in Madhya Pradesh, told ucanews.com yesterday.

In January alone, 14 farmers committed suicide after their crops were ravaged by frost.

Ten others attempted suicide as cold weather damaged 17.6 tons of produce on nearly 3.3 million hectares of land spread over 36 districts.

Some 2,698,452 farmers have been affected.

Although the government has pledged 5 billion rupees (US$111.11 million) for immediate relief, the money has yet to reach the real victims.

This has led to several angry protests by farmers in the state.

Father Vattakuzhy says the Church cannot remain idle as corruption stops “the real victims getting the package.”

Delays in relief distribution will be disastrous for farmers, he warned.

“They are our bread producers and their loss should be our loss also,” he added.

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