Opposition parties Wednesday termed the Maharashtra government’s announcements on restructuring of farm loans as empty talk. The state cabinet had Tuesday adopted proposals for restructuring of loans availed by farmers for kharif cultivation for 2015-16 in the drought-hit districts. It also altered payment schedules for loans restructured in 14-15 by delaying it by another year, while also taking up reconstruction of farm loans availed in 2012-13 and 2013-14.
The government claimed that the total restructured loan amount was to the tune of Rs 11,000 crore and that over 21 lakh farmers would benefit.
Maharashtra Congress’s general secretary Sachin Sawant said on Wednesday that the figures announced were “misleading” and “exaggerated.”
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The Congress party distributed its own analysis on how these figures did not reflect “the factual position.” The NCP, too, questioned the government’s claim. Party leader and former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar dubbed the loan restructuring announcement as nothing but a farce. He claimed that the BJP government hadn’t even paid the interest amount for the first year of loans restructured last year, as promised by them.
On Wednesday, NCP state chief Sunil Tatkare mounted another offensive against the Fadnavis government over the issue, claiming that the NCP would launch a jail bharo andolan from May 15 if the government continued to “pay no heed” to demands from distressed farmers. Both the Congress and the NCP have stepped up the demand for a full loan waiver. “There is a demand for fodder camps but these are not being provided. People are migrating from drought hit pockets as there is no employment. But the government continues to be in denial. All they (the government) are saying is that they are supplying water (to Latur) through railway wagons. But the water scarcity in other parts is not being addressed,” Pawar claimed. “The government should consider interest-free crop loans for farmers in drought-hit areas. Seeds should be made available at concessional rates,” he said.
An NCP delegation also submitted a memorandum of demands to the CM Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Congress questioned the feasibility of regulating wholesale and retail prices of pulses, announced by the government on Tuesday.