Maharashtra Guv Announces Financial Aid for Rain-Hit Farmers; Opposition Calls It Inadequate
Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari (Image: Twitter/@BSKoshyari)
Mumbai: Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Saturday announced financial relief to farmers whose crop was damaged in unseasonal rains, and ordered its immediate disbursal.
The relief entails Rs 8,000 per hectare up to two hectares for agricultural Kharif crops and Rs 18,000 per hectare up to two hectares for horticulture/perennial crops, an official statement said.
The governor also exempted wards of the affected agriculturists from paying the educational fees, it said. Maharashtra has been under President's Rule since November 12, as no political party could form a government in the wake of a fractured mandate in the assembly polls that failed to elect a clear winner.
The governor reviewed crop losses caused by untimely rains in various parts of the state during the months of October and November, the statement said.
"The Governor has also announced exemptions of land revenue to the affected area and examination fee of school and colleges to the wards of affected farmers," it said. The governor also directed the state administration to disburse the relief immediately, it added.
The then chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, had on November 2 approved Rs 10,000 crore as a special assistance for affected farmers. The NCP and the Congress had termed the assistance "meagre" and demanded it be raised to at least Rs 25,000 crore.
Unseasonal rains and delayed retreat of monsoon had damaged Kharif crops of farmers in many districts, with Marathwada and North Maharashtra regions bearing the brunt. Meanwhile, Congress leader Ashok Chavan on Saturday said the assistance announced by the governor was "inadequate".
"However, the administration should deposit this assistance in the accounts of farmers immediately. Additional relief will be declared when a government, of which Congress will be a part, is formed," Chavan said in a statement.
Another former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan claimed that 92 lakh farmers were affected, as the withdrawing monsoon damaged crop on 88-lakh hectares.
"The help is too inadequate. An aid of Rs 25,000 per hectare should be given as demanded earlier by Opposition parties. We expect the governor will try to get as much help as possible," Chavan said.
NCP leader Dhananjay Munde said the affected farmers need a substantial financial aid that is commensurate with the extent of the damage caused to their crops. Shiv Sena MP Rahul Shewale also demanded more assistance for farmers.
The Sena leader said he had demanded that the Central government offer a substantial assistance to the affected farmers. At present, the Congress and the NCP are working out the possibility of forming a coalition government in alliance with the Shiv Sena, hitherto their arch rival in politics.
Measures like a complete loan waiver for farmers were reportedly discussed ahead of finalising the draft Common Minimum Programme (CMP) for the three parties.