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Opposition calls it murder

Opposition demanded murder case be registered against errant officials responsible for the suicide of farmer opposite Mantralaya.

Coongress NCP Press Conference at Vidhan Bhavan-02

The opposition parties held the state government responsible for the suicide of farmer opposite Mantralaya (state secretariat) last week. Congress-NCP legislators criticised the government for its failure to provide loan waiver to farmers as many of them were unable to repay their debt due to crop failure. They also demanded that murder case be registered against errant officials. The proceedings of the house were disrupted as both ruling and opposition parties were involved in a heated debate over the farmer’s suicide issue.

Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said, “Today situation has become so bad that farmers have to commit suicide outside Mantralaya for demanding loan waiver. Congress, NCP and other opposition parties have always highlighted the farmer suicide issue in the assembly and urged the government to provide financial assistance to them. However, the government is least bothered about the hardships faced by farmers. The state government must immediately waive loans of farmers. The government is only giving false assurances to farmers by announcing several welfare schemes for them. Is the government waiting for the assembly election for announcing poll sops to farmers?”

Vikhe-Patil added that despite Madhav Kadam killing himself in front of the Mantralaya, the government still did not understand the gravity of the situation. “It is very unfortunate and ironic that there is an insensitive government in the state and at the Centre as well,” Vikhe-Patil said.

As the House assembled for the day, Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde, via an adjournment motion, said a government which believes in communicating through social media cannot respond to the cries of farmers.

“This suicide incident has happened because the government excluded farmers sowing cotton from getting compensation for crop failure. This is a government that believes in communicating through social media. But, why does it not hear the cries of farmers?” he asked.

He said the farmer had met a few ministers, tehsildar and Collector asking for help, but did not receive any.

Jayant Patil said it is the first time in the history of the state that a farmer has committed suicide in front of Mantralaya.

“(Eknath) Khadse, while he was in the Opposition, had many a times demanded that a murder case be lodged against officials when a farmer committed suicide. Now, the district collector should be charged under IPC section 302,” he said.

On the other hand, Eknath Khadse said the state government had done all it could, and that the farmer had received drought aid over a month back.

BJP MLA Parag Alwani, on his part, said that the government is prepared to answer all these questions. “Our government’s stand is that waiving off farmer loans will not end the suicides. NCP chief Sharad Pawar had done this earlier, but did the farmer suicides stop? No one can give the assurance that the loan waiver will mean that no farmer ends his life. Our government is looking for long-term solutions,” Alwani said.

Madhav Kadam — the farmer from Nanded who consumed poison in front of the Mantralaya on Wednesday — had not received any drought compensation for the past two years. Although he was immediately rushed to hospital, Kadam died on Saturday. In 2015-16, 3,200 farmers committed suicide due to consecutive droughts.

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