October 14th 2010: Kisan Swaraj Yatra goes through the region that exemplifies rural distress in India

We interacted with farmers, media and agriculture scientists in Vidarbha today. After attending a 4.45 am prayer at Bapu Kuti in Sevagram, we set off for Akola town. After reaching Akola, we headed straight for Dr Punjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth. Here, we met with the Dean Dr E.R. Patil, who listened to our brief presentation in the Kisan Swaraj Yatra and also to the delegation’s request to the Agriculture University to work on straight line varieties only and to not take up any GM research. More...

“Kisan Swaraj Yatra reaches Nagpur – Presents data to show that public sector Bt Cotton has been a failure”

October 13, 2010: After traveling through Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, the Kisan Swaraj Yatra which started at Sabarmati Ashram on Gandhi Jayanti reached Nagpur today where it begins its 6-day tour through Maharashtra. Addressing media persons here today, the Kisan Swaraj Yatra presented data from fact-finding visits to show that public sector Bt Cotton has been a failure and that seed supply has been stopped already this season. Activists posed a question to the government on its high investment on public sector biotech and wanted to know if even the feasibility of such options has been worked out. “The experience of CICR Bt Cotton is illustrative enough to let us know that this is an unacceptable wastage of taxpayer’s funds”, said the press release. Further, the reason for stopping the supply of seed this year needs to be put out publicly, especially since it appears to involve IPR complications, said members of ASHA (Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture) which is undertaking the Kisan Swaraj Yatra. More...

Day 9 of the Kisan Swaraj Yatra – October 11, 2010

Yatra takes a record 17 ½ hours to reach Jabalpur from Bhopal! A Press Conference, a Public Meeting and impromptu outreach in the city….. The tougher sides of the yatra start showing signs, the second tyre puncture in a week, followed by wrong (longer) route and the worst-ever roads traveled in yatra or for that matter, anywhere else, for a long past. Calling those bad roads is an understatement as the roads were just missing for most parts. It was a collection of potholes for kilometers on end. Add to these a 3-hour traffic jam in the wilderness from around 1.30 am and you have many Murphy’s Laws proven right! It also appeared that we were given wrong advice about which route to take and therefore, ended up traveling some 60-70 kms extra unnecessarily! More...

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