An onion-grower from Maharashtra who had to sell his produce for few over Rs. 1 per kg has sent his earnings to the Prime Minister to mark his protest.
Sanjay Sathe, the resident of Niphad tehsil in Nashik district, was among the handful of ‘progressive farmers’ chosen by the Union agriculture ministry for an interaction with the US president Barack Obama when he visited India in 2010.
Talking to PTI on Sunday, Mr. Sathe said, “I produced 750kg of onion in this season but was offered a rate of Rs. 1 per kg at Niphad wholesale market last week.
“Finally I could negotiate a trade for Rs. 1.40 per kg and received Rs. 1,064 for 750 kg,” he said.
“It was painful to see such paltry returns on four months of toil. Hence I have donated Rs. 1,064 to Disaster Relief Fund of the PMO as a protest. I had to give an additional Rs. 54 for sending it by money order,” he said.
“I do not represent any political party. But I am furious because of the government’s apathy towards our woes,” he added.
The money order was given on November 29 from the Niphad office of India Post. It was addressed to “Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India”.
Nashik district in north Maharashtra accounts for 50 percent of onion production in the country.
Questioned about his meeting with Barack Obama eight years ago, he said, “I have been using a voice-based advisory service (run by a telecom operator) for farmers for a long time. I utilized to call them and get information about weather changes, and thus succeeded in increasing my production.”
“I had also been invited to talk about my experiments in agriculture on local radio stations of AIR. So the agriculture ministry selected me to established a stall at St Xavier’s College in Mumbai when Obama visited it. I could speak to him for a couple of minutes through an interpreter,” he said.