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Pawar meets Modi, demands farm loan waiver in Maharashtra

PTI New Delhi | Updated on November 20, 2019 Published on November 20, 2019

NCP supremo Sharad Pawar

As speculation spirals over government formation in Maharashtra, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday to seek his urgent intervention in addressing farmer distress in the State.

Pawar said in a memorandum that he brought the “alarming situation” to the Prime Minister’s notice and demanded a “complete and unconditional” farm loan waiver in the wake of the recent damage due to unseasonal rains.

Asked by reporters about government formation in Maharashtra, the NCP chief declined to comment.

The Pawar-Modi meeting, which went on for 50 minutes, took place in the backdrop of hectic parleys between the Congress-NCP and the Shiv Sena to form government in Maharashtra.

Two days ago, Modi praised NCP MPs for their decision to not enter the Well of the House during proceedings. Maharashtra has been under the President’s rule since November 12.

“Met @PMOIndia Shri. Narendra Modi in Parliament today to discuss the issues of farmers in Maharashtra. This year, the seasonal has created havoc engulfing talukas in Maharashtra, causing heavy damage of crops over 54.22 lakh hectares of areas. To take stock of this unprecedented situation and address the concerns of distressed farmers, I had visited Nashik and Vidarbha in the first half of November,” Pawar tweeted.

This year, the returning monsoon devastated almost every standing crop in major parts of Maharashtra, he said. In a three-page memorandum, Pawar said crops such as soyabean, paddy, finger millet, corns, bajra and vegetables such as tomato and onion were at the harvesting stage in Nashik district but incessant and unseasonal rains completely ruined them.

He said 44 farmers from Nashik have committed suicide in the face of the crisis in the last 10 months.

“Due to President’s rule in the state, your urgent intervention is highly necessitated. I shall be grateful if you could take immediate steps to initiate massive relief measures to ameliorate distressed farmers,” the memorandum said.

He also demanded that farmers be given zero per cent credit to raise new crops and also save them from private money lenders and finance companies.

In Nagpur, cotton crops over 35,000 hectares have been damaged due to unseasonal rains, Pawar stated.

He said the Maharashtra governor recently announced ₹8,000 per hectare for agricultural crops and ₹18,000 per hectare for horticulture crops, which are too inadequate to compensate the losses faced by farmers.

The former Union Agriculture minister also recalled that drought-affected farmers received ₹30,000 per hectare for saving orchards in 2012-13 during his tenure and farmers should now be given a similar amount.

Published on November 20, 2019
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