The first installment of assistance to rain-hit farmers would be given immediately, says Devendra Fadnavis
SHIV Sena Ministers on Wednesday attended a Cabinet meeting over the agrarian crisis in the State, chaired by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis here at Sahyadri State Guest House. Six Shiv Sena ministers including Eknath Shinde and Ramdas Kadam were present. Fadnavis had visited areas affected by unseasonal rain to take a stock of the situation. Rains have caused havoc in several parts of Maharashtra, laying waste to standing Kharif crop on around 70 lakh hectares. The meeting, attended by both BJP and Shiv Sena ministers, came amid the tussle between the two parties over power sharing after the Assembly elections.
The ministers briefed the Chief Minister about the situation and submitted their suggestions, a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office said here. Fadnavis announced that all necessary measures will be taken, just as in the case of drought, it said. The first installment of assistance to farmers would be given immediately and it would be independent of farmers’ loan accounts so that they can have cash in hand, he said. He also directed that works be undertaken under the Employment Guarantee Scheme for cleaning up agricultural fields in the aftermath of rain, the CMO statement said.
Coordination with insurance companies should be ensured as over 50 lakh farmers are covered by crop insurance, Fadnavis said, and asked the Finance Department to give top priority to provision of assistance to farmers. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also directed that measures be undertaken to help farm labourers including ensuring food security for them.
BJP ministers who attended the meeting included Chandrakant Patil, Pankaja Munde, Vinod Tawde, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Girish Mahajan and Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil. Crop on 70 lakh hectares is damaged, including cotton on 19 lakh hectares and soybean on 18 lakh hectares, he said. After the conclusion of the meeting with incumbent Chief Minister in Maharahstra, Devendra Fadnavis, Shiv Sena leader Ramdas Kadam said, “This meeting was regarding farmers’ issues. Tomorrow no one can say Shiv Sena did not come for farmers’ problems, so we attended this meeting”
Sena calls Fadnavis ‘Caretaker’ CM
THE Shiv Sena on Wednesday demanded that the Maharashtra Government announce an immediate assistance of Rs 25,000 per hectare to farmers for crop losses due to unseasonal rains, and said “caretaker” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has agreed to it. Talking to reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Sena Minister Ramdas Kadam said, “We attended the meeting on directives of (Sena chief) Uddhavji. The Shiv Sena has demanded Rs 25,000 per hectare as immediate financial assistance for farmers. The caretaker Chief Minister has agreed to it.”
He said crops on 70 lakh hectare land were damaged, including cotton on 19 lakh hectare and soyabean on 18 lakh hectare. Compensation will also be given for repair of fishing boats and loss of paddy crop to farmers in Konkan region, the Environment Minister said. He said that the Sena ministers also demanded that recovery of loans and electricity bills from farmers be stopped. “Farmers should be provided help to prepare for the Rabi crop,” he added. Meanwhile, State Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said that the untimely rains have damaged crops on over 70 lakh hectare of land, and assessment of damage on 60 lakh hectare has been completed. It has been decided to use the contingency funds to disburse financial assistance to farmers, he said.
“The State Cabinet has decided to instruct banks not to force farmers to repay loans as most of them have been affected by the untimely showers,” he said. The State Government has been supplying rice and wheat at Rs 2 and Rs 3 per kg respectively in 14 districts, he said. “If needed, we can extend the scheme to other districts which are currently affected by the untimely rains,” the minister added.