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Thursday, February 19, 2015
Yavatmal means only farmers' suicides......?
NAGPUR, Dec 30, 2014: For an outsider with just basic knowledge of state affairs, Yavatmal means only farmers' suicides. A cotton-rich belt, it has seen the highest number of farmers' ending their lives. Cotton, which had been a cash crop for generations, has gradually become a cause of distress for the cultivators. As officials put it, the number of suicides have come down substantially in past 2-3 years, though this season has been the worst for cotton growers.
In the last half a decade, there has been gradual industrialization of Yavatmal. The biggest unit is the cement plant being built by the Reliance Group, which according to state government sources is expected to be operational by next year.
Raymond's denim unit here is already operational with Nagpur-based Rasoya Proteins' solvent extraction plant set to start production soon.
The value of all the investment together can be pegged at Rs.5,000 crore.
For Reliance, the place has abundant limestone mines, Raymond's has cotton, and the district also has enough soybean for the solvent extraction plant. However, experts say this is just the beginning and lot more needs to be done.
"Farmers crisis remains an issue to be resolved. The cultivators rarely get a good price for the cotton they grow. Apart from farmers, the issue of tribals should also be addressed. To bring Yavatmal into the mainstream, the district needs to be connected with the main railway line," said Kishore Tiwari, a farm activist running NGO Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti.
Yavatmal city has only one train reaching it, the 100-year-old Shakuntala Express, which runs on an equally archaic narrow gauge track.
Vidarbha Economic Development Council has suggested setting up a mineral processing centre in Wani, which is a coal bearing area of this district. Apart from coal, Yavatmal also has plenty of limestone and dolomite. The pending applications for mining these resources should be cleared at the earliest, says VED.
VED has also mooted a textile hub in Yavatmal, apart from other places like Hinganghat in Wardha as well as one in Amravati. The entire Vidarbha region has different cotton growing areas. So, investors also need to be given a choice rather than lobbying for a single district, said Devendra Parekh, president of VED.
Kailash Jogani, chartered accountant and president of Nagpur Chamber of Commerce Limited (NCCL), said the district certainly needs more cotton and textile-based industries. Raymond has a denim plant, however the fabric does not require much of cotton. The government should woo industries wholly dependent on cotton fabric. Cotton trading activities should be made more organized in the local marts, such as getting spot and future prices of the commodity at the market itself. This will help farmers realize a better price for their produce, he said.