Even as he extended support to NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s demand to take a loan to help flood-hit farmers, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said the Centre would certainly provide financial assistance to farmers, but the state government should also announce its intention to do so or else the BJP will “force” it to extend aid.
“The Centre has in the past provided help in case of calamities like floods and drought. Even now, the Centre will extend its best possible help but the state government should first spell out what it intends to do for flood-hit farmers,” Fadnavis said in Latur on Tuesday.
After touring Baramati and Daund in Pune district on Monday, Fadnavis visited flood-hit villages in Latur, Osmanabad and Beed.
Fadnavis was responding to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s remarks on how the central government belonged to the nation and not to a foreign country.
“It is the duty of the central government to help states and I am confident after his phone call to me, the Prime Minister will extend all help to the state,” Fadnavis said.
Fadnavis added that the Narendra Modi-led government will extend more help than previous UPA governments and the PM had already spoken to the chief minister.
“The state government is talking about conducting panchanamas. But farmers are demanding immediate help so that they can carry out rabi sowing. The government should waste no time in reaching out to aggrieved farmers. If the government is not going to help farmers who slog day in and day to feed millions, then who else will it support? We will force the government to extend support to affected farmers,” he said.
Demanding that the state government should come up with a scheme to help farmers in farm-related issues, Fadnavis said, “Heavy rain has damaged farms. In several villages, soil has been washed away. Wells are laden with silt and orchards on acres of acres have been wrecked. In such cases, it will be impossible for farmers to carry out further farm-related activity. It, therefore, becomes important for the government to initiate schemes to restore farms to their original form.”
Praising NCP chief Sharad Pawar, he said Pawar was a matured and knowledgeable leader and never said anything wrong, and that, at present, he had the responsibility to defend an inefficient government.
Supporting Pawar’s demand to raise a loan to help flood-hit farmers, Fadnavis said, “Pawar has rightly said the state government can take loan to help flood-hit farmers. The RBI has increased the loan limit for Maharashtra to ₹1.2 lakh crore. The state has a loan of around Rs 60,000 crore. It can easily borrow up to Rs 70,000 crore,” he said.
Reacting to Fadnavis’ remarks that the state should first spell out what it intended to do for affected farmers, state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat said, “The Centre owes Rs 30,000 crore to the state by way of GST dues. Maharashtra pays the highest GST to the Centre. If the Centre had given the state these dues, the state would not have had any problem in extending immediate help to affected farmers,” adding that Fadnavis should help the state get its GST share from the Centre.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines