Within an hour after commencement, the Maharashtra legislative council had to be adjourned three times, the third time for the entire day, with the opposition members insisting on an immediate discussion on the agricultural crisis deepened by the recent unseasonal rains.
Even as Deputy Chairman, Vasant Davkhare, had assured the house for a detailed discussion on the issue at a predetermined time on Wednesday, members of the opposition got on their feet, tearing papers and sloganeering asking for a discussion on Tuesday itself.
Dhananjay Munde, leader of opposition in the upper house, said, “Of 353 talukas, there is a drought in 84 talukas. About 93 lakh hectares affected. This was followed by a hailstorm last year causing more destruction and the recent untimely rains leading to additional losses. There have been 300 farmers’ suicides in just hundred days. The house should put aside the entire agenda for the day and discuss the matter of unseasonal rains and the losses it has caused to farmers across the state.”
Eknath Khadse, agriculture minister, said, “We are one step ahead and have already proposed a discussion on this issue. We will have the debate when the proposal is to come up.” Untimely rains between February 28 and March 2 across Maharashtra damaged rabi crops and fruits, affecting 7.59 lakh hectare of cultivation and causing losses of approximately Rs 1,000 crore.