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Sharad Pawar meets PM Modi, demands complete farm loan waiver in Maharashtra

Sharad Pawar presented a three-page memorandum to the Prime Minister during his meeting, saying unseasonal rainfall in October and November had caused heavy damage to crops over 54.22 lakh hectares. 

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 20, 2019 5:04:21 pm
NCP chief Pawar meets Modi on farmer crisis in Maharashtra, demands 'unconditional' loan waiver NCP chief Sharad Pawar met PM Modi in Delhi where they discussed agrarian crisis gripping Maharashtra. (PTI Photo)

On the backdrop of negotiations between NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena on forming the government in Maharashtra, NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday in Delhi and apprised him about the growing farmer distress gripping the state.

Pawar presented a three-page memorandum to the Prime Minister during his meeting, which lasted 50 minutes, regarding the “alarming situation” in the state, saying unseasonal rainfall in October and November had caused heavy damage to crops over 54.22 lakh hectares. The NCP chief demanded “complete and unconditional” farm loan waiver for the farmers reeling under massive crop loss.

“Met @PMOIndia Shri. Narendra Modi in Parliament today to discuss the issues of farmers in Maharashtra. This year, the seasonal has created havoc engulfing talukas in Maharashtra, causing heavy damage of crops over 54.22 lakh hectares of areas,” Pawar wrote on Twitter. He also wrote about his visits to Nashik and Vidarbha regions in the first half of November to take stock of the situation.

The meeting comes on a day top Congress leaders are likely to meet their NCP counterparts to take forward the discussions regarding the formation of a government in Maharashtra with the Shiv Sena. Sources said the Maharashtra leaders will meet central leaders and then sit across the table with the NCP.

Maharashtra has been under the President’s rule since November 12. The returning monsoon this year, Pawar said had ruined almost every standing crop in major agrarian parts of the state. He said early 44 farmers in Nashik alone had committed suicide in the past 10 months.

WATCH | President’s rule in Maharashtra: All you need to know

The Pawar-Modi meeting comes two days after the Prime Minister praised the NCP for their decision to not enter the Well of the house during proceedings.

In the memorandum, Pawar said crops like soyabean, paddy, finger millets, corn, bajra and vegetables like tomato and onion were at the harvesting stage but incessant rainfall in Nashik completely ruined them.

Owing to President’s rule in the state, the NCP chief requested Modi to intervene and ensure immediate steps to provide relief measures to “ameliorate distressed farmers”.

In the memorandum, Pawar demanded zero per cent credit to farmers to raise new crops and to save them from being exploited by private money lenders or finance companies. Citing data, he said that cotton crops over 35,000 hectares had been damaged.

He stated that the Maharashtra Governor’s recent announcement of Rs 8,000 per hectare for agricultural crops and Rs 18,000 per hectare for horticulture crops were too inadequate to compensate for the losses faced by farmers. Recalling his tenure as the Union Agriculture Minister, Pawar said that in 2012-13, farmers had received a compensatory amount of Rs 30,000 per hectare and a similar amount should now be disbursed.

Pawar also invited Modi to a Sustainability conference — Innovation and Diversification in Sugar and Allied Industry — to be organised by Vasantdada Institute (VSI) from January 31 to February 2, 2020.

-with PTI inputs

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