Mumbai: An onion farmer based out of Maharashtra, sent his income of Rs 1,064 from selling 750 kg onion, to the Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund, to express his anger towards the Narendra Modi government and protest. On November 29 Sanjay Sathe sent the money through money order addressed to “Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India”.
Sanjay Sathe was one of the selected few ‘progressive farmers’ who were chosen by the Union agriculture ministry in 2010 to interact with former US President Barack Obama, reported PTI.
After eight years, now, he could only manage to sell his produce for a little over Re 1/kg. Angry with the government’s apathy towards farmers, Sathe sent the money to the PM’s relief fund and even paid an additional amount of Rs 54 to send the money order.
A resident of Niphad tehsil in Nashik district, Sathe told PTI on Sunday, “I produced 750 kg of onion this season but was offered a rate of Rs 1 per kg at Niphad wholesale market last week. Finally I could negotiate a deal for Rs 1.40 per kg and received Rs 1,064 for 750 kg.”
“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 pay additional Rs 54 for sending it by money order,” he added. “I do not represent any political party. But I am angry because of the government’s apathy towards our woes,” he expressed.
Nashik district in north Maharashtra accounts for 50% of onion production in India.
About his meeting with Obama eight years ago, Sathe said, “I have been using a voice-based advisory service (run by a telecom operator) for farmers for a long time. I used to call them and get information about weather changes, and thus succeeded in increasing my production.
“I had also been invited to speak about my experiments in agriculture on local radio stations of AIR. So the agriculture ministry selected me to set up 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.”
(With inputs from PTI)