NCP chief Sharad Pawar, addressing a function held to felicitate him for completing 50 years as a Parliamentarian, Monday called for paying farmers 50 per cent more than the cost of production to avoid frequent loan waivers. The event at Amravati, presided over by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, was also attended by Amravati Shiv Sena MP Anand Adsul.
“Several industrialists have defaulted on repayment of loans worth thousands of crores. Farmers don’t intentionally default on repayment of loans. They always try to repay the loans. But due to non-remunerative agriculture, they fail to repay the debt. If we wish to avert the situation, the only way out is to pay farmers 50 per cent over and above the cost of production for the produce,” Pawar said.
Pawar also pitched for Bt technology in cotton saying, “There could be some problem with the technology but per acre production of the crop must go up to benefit the farmers.”
Fadnavis, praising Pawar, said, “He opted for the agriculture ministry when he had other options because he wanted to work for farmers. When there is lack of communication among political parties, opposition turns into an enemy. Pawar never came in the way of the state’s development out of political rivalry. In fact, Pawar is a very magnanimous opponent.”
“A magnanimous opponent is always better than a selfish friend. The word magnanimous befits Pawar like it does no one else. But nobody should try to use my statement to drive a wedge between me and Amravati Shiv Sena MP Anand Adsul,” Fadnavis said in lighter vein.
Earlier, talking to mediapersons in Nagpur, Pawar had blamed the agriculture ministries of both the state and Centre for the deaths of farmers and farm labourers, allegedly due to passive inhalation of pesticides. He called for strict criminal action against those selling illegal or unauthorised insecticides. “Illegal insecticides have apparently come into the market and the deaths could be attributed to them. This didn’t happen when I was agriculture minister for ten years. Clearly, agriculture ministries at the Centre and state are responsible for this tragedy. Strict criminal action must be initiated against all those responsible,” Pawar said. He also blamed the state government for what he described as “wrong management of loan-waiver disbursal” and said he would give the state government another 15 days to sort out the problems.