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Oppn refuses discussion on drought, wants govt to compensate

Opposition Congress and NCP on Tuesday refused to hold any discussion in the Maharashtra Legislative Council over the prevailing drought conditions in the state, but asked the government to immediately provide compensation to the affected farmers.

As soon as Council Chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar called for the Question Hour, Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde (NCP) said farmers and farm labourers do not have any work left and there have been massive crop losses due to drought.

“Things have gotten so worse that farmers have to light their own pyre and commit suicide,” he said.

He claimed that even 22 days after drought was declared, the government was yet to undertake relief measures and water tankers were not being roped into service.

Munde demanded that the government should announce Rs 1 lakh per hectare as compensation to drought-hit farmers and waive the fees of students for the entire year.

He also sought that the electricity bills of the last year in drought-hit areas be waived.

“We do not want discussion on this issue until our demands are met. First, provide immediate relief then we can discuss it,” he said.

Raising the issue of Maratha reservation, Munde demanded that the report of the State Backward Class Commission be tabled in the House.

“The government does not seem serious on providing reservation either to Marathas or to Dhangars,” he added.

Responding to Munde, Leader of the House and Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil said the state cabinet has accepted the commission’s recommendations on the Maratha quota of forming a special category of ‘Socially and Economically Backward Class’.

“We will check whether the recommendations, if challenged, will stand legal scrutiny and then decide on whether to table the report in the House,” he said.

He said a cabinet sub-committee already set up for the implementation of the Maratha quota will take a legal opinion on whether the commission’s report can be tabled in the Legislature.

“The commission has recognised the Maratha community as socially, economically and educationally backward. Since the situation is extraordinary, the limit of reservation can be beyond 52 per cent,” he said, adding that the government would ensure that the reservation stands in court.

Before the House got adjourned for the day, it was adjourned twice for 30 minutes after Opposition created a ruckus over drought and Maratha reservation.

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