News paper THE HINDU dated 09/24/05
Article Mortgages are out, Land grab is in.
Author P SAINATH Abstract Nairji
Farmers in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, India , who are weighed down by debt are now falling prey to land grab by an array of Plunderers, who include 'Talatis' and school teachers.The preferred method is through a 'proper' deed of sale.
When the farmers borrow money, they sign a deed saying they have sold their land to their creditor. This document should be returned when the debt is repaid, but it is not done and this deed is later used to grab their land.
Mortgaging the land to tide over the credit crunch is out of date now. Land grab is the new deal for farmers, struggling in debt. Government employees, Panchayat employees and school teachers are involved in this land grabbing method and several farmers are trapped in such deals.Over 200 farmers , who have been duped in this manner have requested the MLAs to help them get back their land. This kind of land loss is a factor behind the suicides of some farmers.Suicides by farmers in Vidarbha region are mounting.
The farmers are hit by sky-rocketing input costs and the collapse of formal credit.Thaose who had successive crop failures are the worst hit. Neither can they repay the bank dues nor can they get fresh crop loans. In this situation they turn to private money lenders by agreeing to sell their crops at much below the market rates. The debt burden thus sharpens and force them to fall victims of land grabbing.
The farmers or relatives who resist this land grabbing have to face serious consequences. Some of them are even murdered. In cases where local MLAs intervene and get back the land to the farmers, original title deeds are not returned by the money lenders