As farmers in some parts of Maharashtra on Thursday went on a ‘strike’, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said his government was trying to resolve the issue through talks but the opposition Congress and NCP were instigating them for political gains. “We are trying to hold talks with farmers’ leaders and resolve their issues. We will continue to hold talks. The government is positive about some of their demands and we have even started taking action on some points,” Fadnavis told reporters in Mumbai.
A committee of finance department secretary and bank officials has been formed to suggest ways to help farmers within seven days, the chief minister said. In some places, agitating farmers on Thursday sought to stop supplies of vegetables, milk, etc, to the cities, with Fadnavis suggesting the involvement of political workers in the matter.
“Farmers are being used and instigated by vested interests. Certain political parties are trying to gain advantage with this strike. Farmers’ goods are being stopped from being transported, they are not being allowed to sell their produce. All this is being done by members of certain political parties,” he said.
“The people whose ‘Sangharsh Yatra’ did not get a good response are now instigating farmers. The strike took place in Pune, Nashik, Ahmednagar and there were incidents of stone-pelting too. Farmers won’t indulge in violence. This is being done by political leaders,” the CM said, referring to NCP-Congress’ Sangharsh Yatra for loan waiver last month. He also called on dairy federations to pay farmers better rates. “Dairy federations buy milk at Rs 25 (per litre) and sell it at Rs 60 in Mumbai. They should give a proper price to the farmers,” he said.
During the 15-year rule of Congress-NCP, farmers got the direct financial assistance of about Rs 4,500 crore, while his government has disbursed Rs 12,000 crore in aid, Fadnavis claimed. As many as 13 district co-operative banks (DCBs) were facing a liquidity crunch, Fadnavis said, appealing to the commercial banks to treat these banks as their “agents” and provide them with funds so that DCBs can help farmers.