The famous Siddhivinayak Temple in Maharashtra began the new year by bringing joy to the drought-hit families of farmers of Maharashtra.
The temple trust has decided to fund the education of children of farmers who committed suicide and has set aside Rs.1 crore for the same.
The project which will be known as ‘Siddhivinayak Scholarship Scheme‘. A government resolution (GR) was issued by the law and judiciary department regarding the same.
Sanjeev Patil, the chief executive officer of the Siddhivinayak Temple Trust, said:
“We have received the GR and we have already sent a copy to all district collectors asking them to send the details of such farmers and their children. Our committee is in the process of working out the criteria.”
Patil added that the children’s education will be funded from the date the GR was issued till their graduation. But, the cut-off year has not yet been decided.
Farmer activist Kishore Tiwari, president of Shetkari Sawalambhan Mission, stated that due to drought and heavy rainfall in Maharashtra that damaged the crops, over 96 lakh farmer-families have been affected.
In 2015, the state recorded 629 cases of farmer suicides; it recorded 1981 cases in 2014 and 1,296 in 2013. Since 1997, Maharashtra has recorded 70,000 farmer suicides.
“Farmer suicides have been a concern for the state since long. We had floated the idea of doing something for the education of the farmer’s children and that is when this plan came about,” said Patil.
But, Tiwari said that farmers should be helped by the trust as early as possible so that they don’t take the drastic decision of ending their lives. “There are lakhs of farmers who are unable to fund the education of their children as they cannot afford it,” he added.
This is not the first time that temple authorities have come forward to help people.
The temple has been involved in activities such as providing subsidized dialysis, medical equipment & infrastructure to Govt. & Municipal Hospitals, etc and educational activities like ultramodern library and reading room. A library for the visually-impaired is one of its major facilities.
The temple collects Rs.65 crore annually from proceedings, including donations.