THE CONGRESS on Tuesday upped the ante on the demand for a complete loan waiver for farmers in the flood-hit belts. Congress state president Balasaheb Thorat said that the BJP-led government at the Centre and in the state should forthwith waive farm loans in these areas taking into account the “unprecedented” loss caused to agriculture. Last week, NCP president Sharad Pawar had raised the same demand.
Thorat said that a delegation of party leaders will meet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday to formally raise the demand. As per the government’s preliminary assessment, about 8.71 lakh farmers have were hit by last week’s flood.
While alleging that the state was lacking in efforts to tackle flood, Thorat also took a swipe at Fadnavis. Referring to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s aerial survey in flood-hit parts of Karnataka and Maharashtra, Thorat questioned why Fadnavis or senior state ministers weren’t a part of the assessment exercise.
“This is perhaps the first time when the chief minister (BS Yeddyurappa) of one state undertook an aerial survey of flood-hit parts in another state,” he said. At a meeting of senior leaders on Tuesday, it was also decided that public agitations will be launched against the government’s “inept handling of flood”. Thorat further announced that the Youth Congress will hold cleanliness drives in the affected areas from August 16.
NCP too joins chorus
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Tuesday sought a complete loan waiver for flood-affected farmers. “The loans, including the interest of all farmers who have been affected by the floods that have hit the state, should be waived,” said the NCP in a charter of 15 demands submitted to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Senior NCP leaders like party MP Supriya Sule, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde and Mumbai NCP president Nawab Malik, also handed over a cheque of Rs 50 lakh to the Chief Minister for providing relief to flood-affected people.
The NCP also demanded that farmers whose crops were destroyed should be paid a compensation of Rs 1 lakh per hectare while rice farmers should be given Rs 50,000 per hectare.
The NCP also demanded that Rs 25,000 per hectare should be given to farmers to clear the silt left behind by the receding waters. The party also claimed that because the farmers will not be able to till their lands for the next six months, farmers and labourers should each be given a cash dole of Rs 40,000.